St Leonards exhibition explores documentary record of same-sex couples

Lucy Bell Gallery presents Love On Parade – Portraits by Richard Ansett along the esplanade at St Leonards-on-Sea from August 16-30.

Richard Ansett - Ron & Roger
Richard Ansett - Ron & Roger

As Lucy explains, the works are from Richard’s seminal series Ron & Roger, 2001, a documentary record of the first same-sex couples to participate in a scheme that challenged marriage inequality. The couples were photographed in the intimacy of their own homes, posed as if at the altar, referencing the Dutch masterpiece by Jan Van Eyck, The Arnolfini Marriage (1434).

“20 years ago this year a new scheme called the London Partnership Register was introduced to raise awareness of the inequities of civil rights for LGBT couples. Although not recognised in law, for the first time all relationships were acknowledged and celebrated regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

“The brave couples that came forward, hugely influenced public opinion towards the right to love for all and only four years later it had paved the way for the Civil Partnerships Act and finally the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

“These images now exist as a historic archive and evidence of the courage and commitment of otherwise forgotten, everyday LGBT heroes who fought for rights that protect us all and inspire our continued vigilance in the face of prejudice.”