England's Rose

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Tin and paint on wood
48.25 x 48.25 inches
Collection of
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco museum purchase American Art Trust Fund and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

In 1997 and 1998 Lockett felt his health taking a bad direction. He intermittently suffered from what he shrugged off as "a cold" or "the flu," always maintaining that whatever was nagging him was unrelated to the HIV. His artmaking became paralyzed by his gloom. During his final two years he was briefly artistically invigorated by the death of Princess Diana, in whose honor he made a series of valedictory, quilt-like works. These also invoke the memory of Sarah Lockett , who had died in 1995 and had earlier been memorialized by him in Sarah Lockett’s Roses. He made artistic peace with their deaths: Sarah's "natural causes," after a century of life; and Diana's precipitous accident, with the ensuing worldwide hagiographic adulation. Their deaths brought his ebbing life into stark relief. Their departures bore no resemblance to the one he saw in store for himself.