Swimming against the tide is an exhibition opening next week at the Hide Gallery in London. I made this portrait of Elizabeth (Bess) Holland known as Donna Britannica Hollandia especially for the show. In the 1600’s she was one of the most famous Madams in London. She ran a high class establishment outside the London city walls in an area known as the Liberty of Paris Gardens. Her mansion house “The Holland’s Leaguer” offered all sorts of pleasures including garden walks, fine food and wine, modern plumbing and bear baiting. It was a community of women run by a woman and set aside from the rest of society by a moat, drawbridge and portcullis. When the authorities tried to close them down the girls and Bess fought off the soldiers twice, even emptying the contents of their chamber pots upon the soldiers.
The Private view is Friday September 27th 6.30 – 9.00. It would be great to see you there.