Paul Mellon Lecture | Lynda Nead: “Pauline Boty — Women, Desire, and the Image in Sixties Britain”

Lynda Nead, Pevsner Professor of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

About this program

In the 1960s a new kind of blonde femininity emerged in Britain. Part of a new regional and class configuration and a changing moral and sexual environment, Sixties Blonde was described as natural, energetic, impulsive, and self-sufficient, an urban figure who embodied modernity and was a staple of fashion photography and sixties cinema. The work of British pop artist Pauline Boty expresses many of the tensions for young women in Britain in the 1960s: possibilities and constraints, liberation and collusion. This lecture considers Boty’s work and image in the context of shifts in morality and sexuality in the period and within the broader social and political environment of these years. 

About Lynda Nead

Lynda Nead is Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. She has published widely on the history of British art and on gender, sexuality, and visual representation. Her publications include The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity, and Sexuality (soon to be reissued as a Routledge Classic), The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Post-War Britain (Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre), and Victorian Babylon: People, Streets, and Images in Nineteenth-Century London (Yale University Press). She delivered the Paul Mellon Lectures at the Victoria and Albert Museum in October and November 2023, drawing on her current book project, British Blonde: Women, Desire and the Image in Post-War Britain. She is a trustee of the Holburne Museum in Bath and of the Campaign for the Arts, a charitable organization in the United Kingdom that works to champion and expand access to the arts and culture. Beginning in September 2024, she will be a visiting professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. 

About the Paul Mellon Lectures

Established in 1994, the Paul Mellon Lectures were named in honor of Paul Mellon (Yale College Class of 1929), the philanthropist, art collector, and founder of both the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art Studies in London and the Yale Center for British Art. Co-organized by the two institutions, the biennial lectures have traditionally been given by a specialist in British art, first in London and then at Yale. 

Top image
Michael Seymour, Pauline Boty (detail), color print, 1962, National Portrait Gallery, London © Michael Seymour

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