Inspired by eighteenth century aesthetics, Genieve Figgis’ seemingly saccharine tableaux often reveal more sinister realities. In Royal Friends (2015), the sentiment is delightfully macabre. Ostensibly a court portrait, the world of Royal Friends may appear gilded, but under the artist’s hand, the view has been distorted, almost solarised as her figures decompose and liquify into streams of aquamarine paint. The fluidity of Figgis’ images owes much to her choice to work in acrylic, which can be aqueous, loose, and translucent: she loves the ‘unreliability’ of the paint and, in fact, rarely plans her canvases in advance, preferring instead to let the materials shape and transmogrify her images (G. Figgis, quoted in P. Silveria, ‘An Interview with Genieve Figgis’, Purple Diary, 2 January 2018). The results are bewitching and exhilarating, a spooky reimagining of past decadence.