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The UK arts minister Lord Parkinson (Stephen Parkinson) told a crowd earlier this week that government officials covered up the rude bits in a series of drawings by Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant to save his blushes. Parkinson was addressing the Annual Banquet of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars in London when he revealed the saucy saga.

“Among the most joyful things which cross my desk are the applications for works of art or cultural gifts to be accepted for the nation in lieu of tax. They are always fascinating reading and, unlike most Ministerial submissions, beautifully illustrated. The first case I received [in 2021] was for a collection of works by Duncan Grant which had been kept secret for many years—422 erotic sketches,” Parkinson said in his speech.

The drawings, which show sexual encounters between men, is “quite a Karma Sutra of Grant’s sexual imagination,” Darren Clarke, head of collections at the Sussex farmhouse Charleston, told the BBC in 2020. Parkinson added that “as the note which Grant left with them explained, ‘These drawings are very private’. Whether to spare my blushes, or in case I opened the submission on the bus home, my new Private Secretary had covered the more sensitive parts with some tactfully placed Post-It Notes.” Bless.

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