Sixty naked visitors get private viewing of Rodin’s The Kiss in Ipswich – and even recreate it

Members of British Naturists recreate The Kiss at Christchurch Mansion.

Members of British Naturists recreate The Kiss at Christchurch Mansion.

It’s one of the most famous sculptures of naked humans in the world – and now Rodin’s The Kiss has received top marks from a group of naturists who came to see it at its temporary home in Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion.

Rodin's masterpiece, The Kiss

Rodin's masterpiece, The Kiss Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

The sculpture, depicting a naked couple in a passionate clinch, has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the Mansion since it arrived at the end of last year – but none were quite as eye-catching as the 60 members of British Naturism who were given a private viewing recently.

They were also given a talk about the sculpture and other work on display by museum curator Emma Roodhouse.

A spokesman for Ipswich Council, which owns and manages the Mansion, said: “It was an unusual booking, but we were happy to allow them a private viewing. They were a very pleasant group and were really interested in The Kiss and the other exhibits we have on show there.”

He said that a member of museum staff had to accompany the group during their visit to the exhibition – but it was otherwise a private visit.

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“We asked for volunteers – no one was forced to stay in case they might have been embarrassed, but the visit was a great success.”

Andy Wyman from British Naturism said: “We have visited other museums before such as the Haynes Motor Museum and the Maritime Museum in Falmouth but this was the first time we have been to such a prestigious event with the magnificent Rodin sculpture, The Kiss.

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“The history of the Kiss is a reflection on changes in society. In 1914 when it was on display in Lewes Town Hall a local Head Mistress, Miss Fowler-Tutt (what an appropriate name) campaigned successfully to have the sculpture covered. Just over 100 years later a party of visiting naturists is welcomed to view the Kiss.”

Two of the visiting group couldn’t resist recreating The Kiss in front of the sculpture.

As well as visiting the Rodin exhibition, many of the group visited the rest of the Mansion – full clothed – along with other members of the public.

Mr Wyman said they were very impressed by the museum and felt it was well worth a visit in its own right.

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