Queens of Bohemia : And Other Miss-Fits

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by Coffield, Darren

London, Greater London

Published 23/05/2024 by The History Press Ltd in the United Kingdom.

Hardback | 22 Illustrations, black and white

241 x 167 x 35mm | 678g

Our story begins in 1920s London, at a time when women’s rights were surging after the long battle for suffrage and nightclubs emerged as spaces where single women could socialise unchaperoned. This was the age of the dance craze and the gender-bending ‘Flapper’, who inspired the creation of the Gargoyle club, a nocturnal hunting ground for Femmes Fatales.

Meanwhile, London’s Bohemia was ruled by the ‘Queen of Clubs’, Kate Meyrick; the taboo-breaking ‘Tiger Woman’, Betty May; the original ‘Chelsea Girl’, Viva King; the artist, Nina Hamnett; the ‘Euston Road Venus’, Sonia Orwell; and Isabel Rawsthorne, artist, spy, pornographer, model and muse … to name but a few.

Using previously unpublished memoirs and interviews, Queens of Bohemia creates a soundscape of voices that gives the reader a taste of their world, so exotic and yet often wracked with despair. It offers a unique insight into a generation of women for whom ideals of duty and self-sacrifice had been debunked by the horrors of war and whose morality resided in being true to one’s self, as they took their struggle for freedom into the wider world and learned to value their individuality along the way.