Born in Wiltshire, Duggie Fields, immersed himself in the 1960s London underground culture attending an architecture course at the Regent Polytechnic alongside some of the future Pink Floyd members first, and the Chelsea College of Art later.
However, it’s in New York that Fields’s pictorial style took his trademark post-Pop turn, stimulated by the influence of Stan Lee’s comics and by the works of Lichtenstein, Pollock and Mondrian. Fields was an American in London, promoter of a pioneering proto-Punk style that anticipated the revival of 1950s aesthetics, yet, at the same time, he was quintessentially British. Dandy, witty and discreet, Fields was a man of habitude who lived for more than 50 years in his studio-cum-flat in Earl's Court. The house was mostly renowned for hosting the room where the cover photo for his former housemate Syd Barret’s The Madcap Laughs was taken.
A member of the volatile but trendsetting mid-’70s ‘Them’ scene that oscillated between glam and punk, Fields was first noticed when taking part to the 1970 collective exhibition ‘Ten Sitting Rooms’ – regarded as a pivotal moment in the evolution of the language of British art – and then became a cult personality when he was featured in Caterina Milinaire’s Cheap Chic book wearing an early Vivienne Westwood top.
Fields passed away with the same class that always characterised him, in a changing London that is less and less the city he knew, vanishing like the Earl’s Court Exhibition Center that for years he helplessly tried to rescue.
Many voices have already raised, including that of GQ editor Dylan Jones, to safeguard his studio. Syd Barret’s striped floor, perhaps, will finally resurface.