Molly Parkin


Molly Parkin (born Molly Thomas in 1932, Pontycymer), is a Welsh painter and journalist, who became most famous for exploits in the 1960s.

Parkin was the second of two daughters, born and raised in Pontycymer in the Garw Valley, Wales. In 1949 she gained a scholarship to study fine art at Goldsmiths College, London, and then a scholarship to Brighton College of Art. After marriage, she became a teacher who painted throughout her first marriage. After a series of affairs, including a long term association with actor James Robertson Justice, when Parkin separated from her husband at the start of the 1960s, her desire, inspiration and passion to paint left too.

To support her two daughters, Parkin turned to fashion. After making hats and bags for Barbara Hulanicki at Biba, and working alongside Mary Quant, Parkin opened her own Chelsea boutique, which later formed a feature in Newsweek about Swinging London. After selling the shop to business partner Terence Donovan, she founded the innovative Nova magazine in 1964. She then became fashion editor of Harpers & Queen in 1967, and The Sunday Times in 1969, before becoming Fashion Editor of the Year in 1971! After becoming a television personality in the 1970s, Parkin was banned from the BBC for too much swearing.

In the early 1970s, Parkin wrote a 750 word outline for a novel entitled Love All. Disliked by publishers Blond & Briggs, the office secretary commented that she liked it, and it was picked up for publication. Her second more sexually orientated novel Up Tight published in 1975 was highly publicised, thanks to fashion photographer Harry Peccinotti’s cover shot shot of a French model wearing see-through knickers, resulting in book sellers Hatchards keeping it under the counter. After returning from living in New York city in 1980, she split from her second husband Patrick Hughes, and was again in need of funds to pay for her daughters` education. By the time of publishing her novel Breast Stroke in 1983, her alcoholism had taken over. The three publications, plus various articles for men’s magazines, earned her the position of 24th in Timeout magazines review of London’s best erotic writers.

After publication of her autobiography “Moll” in 1993, Parkin started painting again in the 1990s, with her first exhibition in more than a decade at the Washington Gallery in Penarth. Much of her new work is inspired by Celtic landscapes- in particular, Pontycymer – although she also found her travels in India moved her to brighten her palate to more produce vibrant coloured works.