Charleston

Paul Roche Reclining

Above the door to the studio corridor hangs this portrait of the poet, Paul Roche, reclining in green satin pants. He was an especially close friend of the artist, Duncan Grant.

Above the door to the studio corridor hangs this portrait of the poet, Paul Roche, reclining in green satin pants. He was an especially close friend of the artist, Duncan Grant, and was an important part of his life. Grant painted this portrait of him around 1945, shortly after they’d met by chance at Piccadilly Circus in London.

“As we plunged across the Circus, more or less together, he darted me a look in which I thought I saw something tenderly curious and questioning.”

– Paul Roche

Roche had mostly female lovers in his lifetime, but he became Grant’s model, muse, friend and lover – they even lived together for a time. Grant painted him over and over, and some of his sketches and paintings of Roche are explicitly erotic.

After getting married, Roche settled in America, but he returned to visit Grant at Charleston after he heard of Vanessa Bell’s death in 1961. Roche and his wife, Clarissa Tanner, moved back to the UK to take care of Grant who was increasingly frail. The bond between these two men dominated the later part of Grant’s life and he spent his final months at Roche’s home, where he died in 1978.