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From King Edward II to Sir Ian McKellen: the world’s gayest National Portrait Gallery

November 21, 2014 @ 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM


The lecture by Andrew Lear is principally a slide show, with commentary, in which Lear shows people a small part of the astonishing gay history hanging on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery in London.  This includes men, women, at least one trans person, couples, men portrayed by the “queer eye”, and people involved in important gay historical events, such as the Oscar Wilde story; many of them (e.g. Shakespeare, Byron, Aubrey Beardsley) are famous, but others are far less so, at least in the US today.  The lecture also raises many key issues in gay history, the difficult evidentiary record, the difficulty of establishing transhistorical categories for same-sex desire, and so on–but it confronts these indirectly, through images and biographies, rather than focusing directly on them.

Q&A and reception to follow the lecture.


Andrew Lear (born December 21, 1958) is a Classicist and scholar of gender history and the history of sexuality. His research focuses on ancient Greek poetry and art.[1] His book on male-male erotic scenes in ancient Athenian vase-painting (Images of Ancient Greek Pederasty: Boys Were Their Gods, co-authored with Eva Cantarella, Routledge 2008), was positively reviewed: it greatly expanded the number of known scenes and proposed a sophisticated framework for their interpretation.[2][3][4][5] He has written articles on topics including the Greek poets Anacreon and Theognis, as well as book reviews for Classical World.[6] His poems and translations have appeared in such journals as Persephone, the Southern Humanities Review, and Literary Imagination. He has taught at HarvardColumbiaPomona College,[7] and NYU. In addition to his academic career, Lear is the founder of Oscar Wilde Tours, the first company to offer multi-day guided tours focused on gay history:[8]  (From Wikipedia)



Chevalier d’Eon, by Thomas Stewart, after Jean Laurent Mosnier, oil on canvas, 1792, 30 1/8 in. x 25 1/4 in. (765 mm x 640 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London.




November 21, 2014
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM


Bureau of General Services—Queer Division @ The Center
208 West 13th Street, Room 210
New York, NY 10011 United States
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212 620 7310


646 457 0859