Cigarettes and Handbags

I have become fascinated by Princess Margaret since my previous enquiry. This series has come directly from the title of one of my paintings called  “.. as long as she can disguise her will and use her eyes then all will be well”, from the ‘Inhaling’ series . The quote was taken from a letter that the Queen Mother wrote about her then recently born daughter Princess Margaret. She was born into a contract. A set of non negotiable rules set for life.


Observing how Margaret was told at a very young age that she will not have the level of education as her sister and she was to use her ‘eyes’ instead of her mind. So did she just then work as a kind of mannequin to cut ribbons and shake hands?  How must it feel to be dressed by ‘ladies in waiting’? To be clothed by the best tailors, milliners, jewellers? but live a life trapped by the royal establishment.


She represents so many women in society too, to look ‘nice’ without their own voices, does class and hierarchy still choose our stories? 

Cigarettes and Handbags has become a place for me to play and have fun, cutting paper and laying them together for colour contrast and using the cut outs to tightly crop stylish oil painted snapshots with a nostalgic frisson.  My influence has been Gerald Laing, Pauline Boty and David Salle, giving the series a feeling of a British buttoned-up myth of femininity.