by John W. Mills

I first worked from the model, Quentin Crisp, in 1947 at Hammersmith School of Art and. I continued to work with him through successive years, both as a student and tutor, until the summer of 1977, when he was about to leave the art school life that had made him The Naked Civil Servant, to live in the USA, and I was about to give up teaching and live by my sculpture. For some reason I had become one of the few people Quentin still posed for during those last months of his modelling career.

The final session arrived with Quentin coming into the studio wearing a smart new black fedora hat. Apparently someone had come up to him in the street and said 'You can wear this better than me,' and gave him the hat—this was the story he told me.

I had never made a serious portrait sculpture of Quentin and suggested that at this late period I should. He agreed and so I modelled a portrait of him wearing that hat, subsequently cast in bronze and sold at Sotheby's, giving me life membership of the Chelsea Arts Club, where I last saw Quentin.

When I was approached by BAMS (British Art Medal Society) to make a medal, Quentin had recently died in Manchester (which he would have hated) so I thought I would commemorate a special moment in both our lives by making the medal "Quentin Crisp's Fedora."

Click here to read more about John W. Mills and see his Quentin Crisp artwork!

Photograph and text copyright © John W. Mills. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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