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.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove