Monday, January 9, 2012


William Russell Flint (1880-1969) executed this suite of elaborate watercolors for a poetry book published in London in 1922. The Idyls of Theocritus was printed by the Medici Society, each copy retailing for the then-huge price of £8 18s 6d. It was undoubtedly aimed mainly at those rich businessmen who liked a veneer of high culture along with their titillation.

Flint was a Royal Academician, knighted in 1947. "His talent with both the watercolour medium and his skill in depicting the female form created a hallmark style which would later become legendary," according to the official site (which is, if truth be told, mainly dedicated to marketing mass-produced reproductions of his paintings).

Certainly there was a soft-porn side to Flint's work, but it peeped out of such highly organized and highly finished compositions that they could be regarded as safely respectable by the book's purchasers.