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Painting, 'The Wheel of Fortune'

MOL.2010.52.2

Part of

Hidden in plain sight

About this object

For many gay, bisexual and bi-curious men, one of the only places to find sexual partners without fear of being spotted in a gay bar or club is to go cottaging - to look for sexual partners in public toilets.

This painting, by gay Liverpool-born artist Yankel Feather, depicts men cottaging in the public toilet underneath Williamson Square in the years prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967.

One local man remembers – "Williamson Square, that was where the Playhouse is now, and there used to be a little taxi place there. There was a kiosk for the taxi drivers to get a cup of tea and what not. It was like a hut, it was alright. Then just behind the hut was a public convenience for gentlemen only and it had two staircases going down each side of it and it was round inside so that’s why it was called the 'wheel of fortune'. A lot of people used to go in there looking to see if they could find a rich sugar daddy! And they’ll have got a fortune out of him, hopefully, but no one ever did."
Anonymous, 2011, extract from Mapping Memories, Merseyside Maritime Museum

The painting was exhibited 1 Feb 2014 - 10 Mar 2014 in the Museum of Liverpool to celebrate LGBT History Month.

Object specifics

  • Title
    Painting, 'The Wheel of Fortune'
  • Accession no.
    MOL.2010.52.2
  • Type
    Oil Painting
  • Artist/Maker
    Yankel Feather
  • Place made
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Date made
    2007
  • Materials
    Oil; Canvas; Glass ; Wood
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Measurements
    460 mm x 610 mm
  • Collection
    From the Museum of Liverpool collections
Object view = Social History
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