Learn more about Delilah Tickles by Hannah Rose Thomas

Investigate the materials and meaning in one of The Beaney’s newest portraits.

  • Delilah Tickles by Hannah Rose Thomas

How to use this resource

This resource is free to use by anyone but has been developed to support learning in Key Stage 3 and 4.

You could use this resource as part of a group, discuss the information and answer the questions together.

Or you could use the resource independently and write notes on what you find out and record your responses.

Curriculum links: Art & Design, PSHE

Themes: Identity, Gender, LGBTQIA+

Who is the sitter?

Delilah Tickles (pronounced: DEE-lie-lar) is a drag queen and comedy performer who is known for organising and leading Canterbury Pride. Delilah leads the Pride parade and performs at Pride as well as a variety of local LGBTQIA+ venues. 

Delilah was nominated to sit for this portrait. She is celebrated for supporting and representing the LGBTQIA+ community not just in Canterbury but across Kent. 

This portrait was the first in Canterbury Museums’ collection to represent a comedy performer, drag queen and member of the contemporary LGBTQIA+ community. 

What’s a drag queen? A drag queen is a type of performance artist. Typically a drag queen is a male who performs as an exaggerated female persona. Drag can be traced back through the history of western theatre and in Britain is often associated with pantomime. However, today drag is a diverse art form involving performers of various genders and identities who perform and present themselves in many different ways.

“Being chosen was a huge surprise! Opportunities like this very rarely come to a gay male who grew up on a council estate in Canterbury.” – Dean Heckley (he/him) / Delilah Tickles (He/She)

Investigate the portrait!

Click on the arrows to explore the painting. Each time you click right you will be taken to a different detail in the painting.

Click on the eye icon if you want to hide or reveal the text.

Audio description

Audio Descriptions are used to communicate visual information and are one of the best ways for blind and partially sighted visitors to access things in museum collections.

Listening to an audio description can also provide additional information and insights into an artwork.

Delilah Tickles by Hannah Rose Thomas

Who is the Artist?

The portrait was painted by Hannah Rose Thomas (born 1991) who is an artist and a UNESCO PhD scholar. Her work explores the human and social impact of art for migratory and marginalised communities.

How did they make the portrait?

There were many stages that led to this portrait being made. First the artist met with the sitter and they had conversations to get to know eachother. The artist took various photographs of Delilah in ‘full drag’ to use as references to develop the portrait.

See a photo from the meeting: Click to read additional content Artist Hannah Rose Thomas Photographing Delilah Tickles at The Beaney Artist Hannah Rose Thomas Photographing Delilah Tickles at The Beaney Close

Eventually the artist made a preparatory drawing to further work out the composition of the painting as well as the expression and pose Delilah would have in the portrait.

During the process the artist and the sitter continued to communicate through a messaging app. Hannah Rose Thomas would share photographs of the portrait in progress and Dean would share images of his process of transforming into Delilah.

See a preliminary sketch by the artist: Click to read additional content Preliminary Sketch by Hannah Rose Thomas Preliminary Sketch by Hannah Rose Thomas Close

See the paint and gold leaf being applied to the painting: Click to read additional content Paint and gold leaf applied to the unfinished portrait Paint and gold leaf applied to the unfinished portrait Close

Following these conversations and experiments, the artist refined the composition, expression and pose and eventually created the final painted portrait.


‘Delilah Tickles’
Hannah Rose Thomas (born 1991)
Egg tempera with 24ct gold and swarovski crystals on panel
60cm x 50cm

On display: People and Places Gallery


  • Sitter: A person depicted in a portrait.
  • Identity: The aspects of someone’s life that make up their sense of self, such as their gender, beliefs, race, cultural heritage and sexual orientation etc.
  • LGBTQIA+: Stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Egg Tempera: A form of paint created by mixing egg yolk with powdered pigments and water. Traditionally, tempera was applied to wooden panels.

Explore more

Explore other portraits in the museum collection:

Artefacts in exhibition case The Beaney Museum

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