Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Nell Gwyn Nude

This painting by Sir Peter Lely of Nell Gwin (sic) naked leaning on a bed, with her Child (1732) is billed as "possibly the most seductive image in British art". Ostensibly another Venus and Cupid, it has floated around the English nobility for centuries under different titles. It was painted at the command of King Charles II, who visited Peter Lely's house to watch his mistress Nell Gwyn being painted in the nude. Note how the child is lifting the covering over her pubes to peek underneath. Oh, naughty cherub! The painting comes up for sale in Sotheby's London auction tomorrow, estimated value £600,000-£800,000 (US $960,000-$1.3m). Click the title link for a larger image and more history of the work.


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