SIMEON SOLOMON, Today was the birthday of this British artist (d. 1905) Solomon lived as an openly Gay man in a time when it was not socially acceptable to do so. He and Algernon Swinburne were frequently seen chasing each other naked through Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s house.
In 1873 his career was cut short when he was arrested in a public toilet in London and charged with indecent exposure and attempting to commit sodomy. He was sentenced to serve eighteen months’ hard labor in prison, but this was later reduced to police supervision. He fled to the French Third Republic. He was however arrested again in 1874, after which he was sentenced to spend three months in prison. Upon his arrest, though, Swinburne turned into a fair weather friend and would no longer deign to be seen with Solomon, much less romp naked through Dante’s house. For a time, Solomon was lovers with Eton master and Cambridge tutor, Oscar Browning who himself was forced to leave both schools because of his own little homosexual scandals. Solomon’s own art has never been collected and published, probably because most of it is erotic and explicitly Gay, much as the artist’s name seems to have been expunged from all but the most complete art reference books. Their loss as his work has been said in many ways to virtually define Victorian art.