On display, the sculpture that revealed an aristocrat's guilty secret
The highly esteemed second Lord Melchett, Henry Mond, was an industrialist, politician and financier who represented the cream of British aristocracy.
Gwen Wilson was a show-stopping beauty and an artist to boot. When the two married and moved into one of the most desirable addresses in Westminster, they should have been the toast of polite 1930s society.
But a certain artwork, which was created by Charles Sargeant Jagger – one of the era's most prominent artists – and which took pride of place in their living room, revealed a sensational secret that led to censure and outrage from their contemporaries.
For years the couple had been indulging in a passionate ménage à trois with the writer Gilbert Cannan, a friend of D H Lawrence, and, after deciding that they wanted to flaunt the fact rather than to hide it, they commissioned Scandal to be made in homage to their sexual proclivities. The striking 1.6m-high relief featured a naked couple in an intimate embrace watched by society ladies in a state of moral outrage. Its effect on high society, governed by strict codes, could not be overestimated.
The work, which was recently bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum for $157,000 (£106,000) and is now on display, was made for their home, Mulberry House in Smith Square, central London. Mark Jones, director of the V&A, described the work as a "daring riposte" by Mond to 1930s society.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant