Wednesday 19 December 2007
Frances Spalding, in her obituary of my father Paul Roche [8 November], accurately describes his relationship with Duncan Grant when alluding to Patroclus and Narcissus, but her use of the term "boyfriend" gives a false impression of what their friendship was all about,
writes Mitey Roche de Aguiar.
In my father's fascinating but as yet unpublished memoir, he writes about his first meeting with Grant: "Duncan had wanted to kiss me, and this I refused. Indeed in all the 32 years that I was blessed with his extraordinary friendship, I only kissed him once when, just after he had breathed his last at the age of 93 and lay stretched on the bed in my study, I stooped down and with tears kissed his forehead."
He continues, "If it be asked whether a heterosexual can have a relationship with a homosexual, I think I am proof that he can. What was the magnet that drew me to him? It was his love and the beauty of his character. The one overwhelming me immediately, the other unfolding year by year: both compelling a response from me that made me love him at last even more than I did my father."
If my father had been gay he would have been quite open about it, for that was his style. He didn't care about how people saw him (except in relation to his work) and, despite his good looks and stylish way of dressing, he was unaware of his effect on the opposite sex and believed himself to be a failure with women. He modelled for Duncan, often nude and on a regular basis, and he no doubt enjoyed the attention and love of the artist who was in love with him. The best one can say is that it was a love relationship. All of my family, above all my mother, understood that love.
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