The Telegraph previews a show in the Queen’s gallery at Buckingham Palace that is determined to change Queen Victoria’s image as a prude.
The exhibition will also recount how in 1847, the royal couple commissioned William Dyce, the Scottish painter, to produce a large fresco, Neptune resigning to Britannia the Empire of the Sea, for the staircase at Osborne House. The work features a naked Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, with several nude cavorting nymphs. After showing them a preparatory sketch for the fresco, Dyce wrote to his friend, the artist Charles West Cope: “Prince thought it rather nude; the Queen, however, said not at all.”
Around one third of the objects in the exhibition, which includes paintings, sculptures and jewellery, were exchanged as gifts to mark special occasions. They include three heavily-nude paintings that the queen gave Prince Albert as birthday presents during their marriage – William Edward Frost’s Una Among the Fauns and Wood Nymphs and The Disarming of Cupid, and Florinda by the German painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter. Florinda depicts a group of seminude female companions preparing to bathe while spied upon by King Roderigo of Spain.