Patrick Procktor

This was my first picture of Patrick taken in 1982 on the roof terrace of his house in Manchester St (which he burnt down 20 years later). I saw one of his quirky watercolour portraits in Vogue and the article linked him to Hockney. It captivated me and I decided to photograph him. Getting his phone number from the phone book I called, I think I had to call him twice… as he always said you have to ask a woman twice – he was so old fashioned- anyway when I went to see him he opened the door, standing 6’7 inches tall with a paintbrush in one hand and a cigarette in the other, he looked down at me and proclaimed in his posh voice, ‘Oh, my St John”!
It turned out he was painting a commission for Chichester Cathedral of the St John Baptist stories but was having a painters block as he couldn’t find a suitable model.

We became lifelong friends until his death in 2003. He was 25 years my senior but we shared a sense of camp humour and I felt we were in the mould of Ken Williams and Joe Orton, Wilde and Robbie Ross, Julian and Sandy. I owe him so much. He could be utterly cruel, which was due to his alcoholism, which got much worse but we lived like dilettante’s, receiving famous people, the first G&T at noon, smoking joints and gossiping about the art world. It was heaven.
I’ve got a funny letter from David Litchfield the editor of Ritz at the time (early 80’s) in response to a letter I’d sent – at Patrick’s urging- asking for a fee for an interview we did for the magazine. It’s hysterical and shows how na├»ve I was and how mischievous Patrick was – he totally set me up.

I was at art college when I took this and he bought a print, which hung on the wall at Manchester St but it was destroyed in the fire.
I have many stories and pictures of Paddy, too many to write here but below is a short story of the first meeting, which was published in Square Peg magazine. Again I sound quite ridiculous but it’s funny. See Ian Massey’s book Art & Life for his full story.

PP wtmrk

PP story

David Gwinnutt Written by:

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