Prudery and Piano Legs: The Naked Truth about Victorians

We think of the Victorians as prudish. But did they really cover their piano legs? In fact, the Victorians were obsessed with sex. New evidence even suggests that Queen Victoria had an exceptionally high libido. This Victorian interest in sex infiltrated the art world and the representation of the naked figure was one of the most controversial topics of the time, from mass-produced photographs to Royal Academy paintings.

This talk looks at how Victorian artists managed to make the nude ‘acceptable’. It de-bunks the idea that the Victorians were repressed and suggests that it’s perhaps us, 21st century viewers, who are the most prudish about the naked human body.