Perhaps one of the most delightful things about Beckett was her ability to talk about the human body without shame or embarrassment. Speaking about one portrait, she made a comment that would go on to be viral for its time: “I love all those glistening strands of hair, and her pubic hair is so soft and fluffy.” In describing the Sistine Chapel, she remarked: “Adam’s sprawled there in his naked male glory, but he’s not alive,” she told viewers in 1996. “All he can do is lift up a flaccid finger, and out of the clouds whirls down the God of Power.”

“She defends her orthodoxy to the hilt,” Willcock explains. “If God created the body, there is no part of it which is dirty, sinful, or unclean. It is only human attitudes and human minds that make it so.”

While her two careers might seem, to some, to be quite far apart, Beckett’s intense spirituality is what united them, writes Willcock. ”It perhaps shows that one cannot define any vocation with a brand; lives are lived as a whole, not within the confines of any one job description.”

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.