Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

For Sale: Portrait of the Artist Emin as a Young Woman Tormented by Love

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

For Sale: Portrait of the Artist Emin as a Young Woman Tormented by Love

Article excerpt

Byline: Louise Jury Chief arts Correspondent

LOVE letters written by a besotted teenage Tracey Emin, including drawings of her and her lover, have come to light.

The artist was 15 when she embarked on the relationship with a dancer who was seven years her senior and the experience is thought to have helped shape her career.

In the handwritten letters to Tommy Mack -- now said to be a bit-part actor and party entrepreneur -- the schoolgirl's love appears unrequited. According to the collector selling the letters, Mack's name was later to appear on Emin's installation of the tent in which she stitched the names of everyone she had ever slept with.

The letters are expected to make up to [pounds sterling]10,000 when they are sold at auction at Duke's of Dorchester on 1 October.

In the correspondence from 1978 Emin comes across as a vulnerable teenager and she mentions her home life, saying that when her father visited it was "hell". Her doodles include one of her and Mack together in 1978 and one of the pair set in a future in which he is depicted as fat and she is drawn as a witch. There is also a sketch in pencil of her standing next to a large broken heart.

In the letters, riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, she called Mack "my darling Tiger". In one she signs off: "lots of love Tracy (your little tramp) XXXXXXXX". She now spells her name Tracey.

In one section she alludes to what is thought to be the time she slept with Mack. She writes: "She [her mother] asked me about my neck. I didn't ansewr I just told her it couldn't be helped. She just laught and said I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.

"Once she said that I told her everything.

I think she was pleased for me, because she thought I was going to turn into the virgin Mary after Simon finished with me. It just prooves how wronge some one can be. …

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