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Queer Saint: The Cultured Life of Peter Watson

By Adrian Clarke and Jeremy Dronfield

From the mystery of his obscure family origins, to the enigma surrounding his premature death, Queer Saint follows Peter Watson through an odyssey of the twentieth century.

When Peter Watson was murdered in his bath by a jealous boyfriend in 1956, the art world lost one of its wealthiest, most influential patrons.

This compellingly attractive man – who was called a legend by contemporaries, who was the subject of two scandalous novels, and who helped launch the careers of Francis Bacon, John Craxton, and Lucian Freud – fell victim to a fortune-hungry lover. Elegant and hungrily sexual, Peter Watson had a taste for edgy, disreputable boyfriends. He was the unrequited love of Cecil Beaton’s life, his ‘queer saint’, but Peter preferred the risk of edgier, less sophisticated lovers, including the beautiful, volatile, drug-addicted prostitute Denham Fouts. 

Peter’s thirst for adventure took him through the cabaret culture of 1930s Berlin, the demi-monde and aristocratic salons of pre-war Paris, English high society, and the glitz of Hollywood’s golden age. More than just a gay playboy, Peter Watson was a renowned connoisseur, and fuelled the engine of mid-twentieth-century art with his enormous wealth. 

Anyone interested in contemporary art or cultural history is bound to enjoy this book. 

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