SHE scandalised the Newport of the post-war years and is once more baring all for the public. Mike Buckingham views a cheeky masterpiece.
A saucy nude who scandalised Newport in the 1940s is once again being exposed to the public gaze.
"The picture is actually entitled 'D.DVa' but after it was bought in 1947 won notoriety as the Newport Nude" curator Roger Cucksey said.
"At various times the picture has been debated by Newport Literary Society who after much deliberation in 1952 decided it was not indecent.
"It even made the Daily Mirror in 1952 when it was attacked by the Bishop of Caerleon."
The Newport Nude who coolly appraises the viewer whilst striking a pose that leaves little to the imagination was painted by Sir Gerald Kelly in the mid-1920s.
Newport's museum and art gallery bought the picture which is now worth thousands from the Royal Academy for £250 and immediately had to weather a storm of criticism.
"The Bishop of Caerleon, one Mr Dorian Herbert, said the Newport Nude was brazen, abandoned and vulgar" Mr Cucksey, co-curator of the exhibition Art of the Nude' which opens at the gallery in John
Frost Square, Newport on July 19 said.
"In fact his ecclesiastical post was entirely self-appointed.
"It seems he heard about the picture from his sister, Lila, who was 73 and said her attention had been drawn to it after she saw a schoolgirl sniggering."
Mr Wilson said despite the exhibition's title not all the pictures on show were nudes.
"We are trying to make the point that all figurative art starts with the nude.
"Before you can paint believable human figures you have to start with those without clothes.
"Another superb piece of work is one by Thomas Rathmell, head of art at Newport College of Art when it had an international reputation."
Clothed and unclothed and ranging from the strictly representational through to the abstract the exhibition shows off one of the finest art collections in Wales and which is Newport's hidden
"The Newport Nude is eye-catching and has been controversial in its time but she is just a part of what we have to offer" Mr Robin Hawkins, Newport's keeper of art said.
"An art collection is like an iceberg in that most of what we have stays out of sight.
"This is a marvellous chance to show off the best of our collection which includes a William Blake painting and Rodin's The Kiss."
In a move to make more of its collection accessible Newport's art gallery has over the last year been putting its pictures online.
The nudes can be seen on this website and the series of which it is part on
"As a sign of the times, last time we showed her those who objected to her did so not
because she was naked but because she was smoking."