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The matchstick man and the bearded lady...PCOS?…



Early this year I happened upon a work of art that LS Lowry had painted of a bearded lady (you can google it). LS Lowry spoke of the bearded lady as “an able and intelligent woman, completely alone and isolated behind her deformity”. Lowry, himself a recluse, is said to have felt some sort of connection with the bearded woman. He later recalled how delighted he was when the bearded woman got into his railway compartment at Newport as he travelled from Manchester to London.


Lowry hastened to make a little sketch of the bearded woman on some paper during the journey to Paddington. The bearded woman even asked him what he was doing and when he showed her the sketch, later to become a painting, she was far from impressed. Yet, as they chatted along the way they soon became friends by arrival at Paddington station.


This happened back in 1957 long before the boom of the hair removal industry and in a society that couldn't imagine the empowerment of a woman keeping and embracing her facial hair rather than considering it a "deformity" as Lowry described.


You cannot help but wonder if it was a woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. We may never know. What we do know is that someone liked the painting a lot. It went on to become part of the Bloom collection which was expected to fetch up to £1.3million at Christie’s Auction.


I wonder where the bearded lady resides now? …

© PCOS Vitality 2020



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