Lady Godiva

An initiative of the museums of Amiens Métropole for the cross-Channel Interreg project “Out of the blue - Woad : heritage and creativity”

The museums of Amiens Métropole are fortunate to have kept in their collections a monumental painting by Jules Lefebvre: Lady Godiva.

Lady Godiva Photographed by Claude Gheerbrant

Exhibited at the 1890 Salon (official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris), this immense (6.2 x 3.9m) oil painting dated 1891 portrays the story of Lady Godiva, a famous 11th century English princess. Married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia and lord of Coventry, she begged her husband to relieve the townspeople of the oppressive taxes and tolls. He refused, unless she agree to ride through the town naked on horseback. Out of respect for their lady, it is said, the townspeople stayed indoors during her ride. Jules Lefebvre’s painting shows Lady Godiva during her ride through the deserted town.

After spending several decades in the reserve collections, the painting will be restored in public view before being showcased once again in the Grand Salon of the Musée de Picardie. In counterpoint, a cabinet of 40 sketches will be put on display for this event and a contemporary artwork by Stig Evens, produced jointly with our partners in Brighton, will shed contemporary light on the legend of Lady Godiva.

With a bearing upon several projects and long hidden from the view of visitors to the Musée de Picardie, Lady Godiva is sure to cast its spell over you too!

Draws of Jules Lefebvre - Museum of Picardy, 2013

The Musée de Picardie & its partners of the cross-Channel Interreg project “Out of the blue - woad: heritage & creativity”

The themes of altruism and sharing are central to the project Out of the blue and Lady Godiva, through this act of generosity towards the Coventry townsfolk, is a shining example of these – spanning the centuries.
In partnership with the Maison de la culture, the Museum will be taking part in the Hortillonnages (Floating Gardens) Festival on 29 and 30 June, thanks to the “Île Perdu(e)” that will be presenting a counterpoint to the Lady Godiva exhibition.

The libraries, Hove Museum and museums of Amiens are clubbing together to put on a bilingual exhibition on panels for youngsters in autumn 2013.

The Musée de Picardie branching out & “Lady Godiva”

The museums also explore the theme of the portrayal of women and the female gender in an exhibition of the Musée de Picardie in the Carré noir gallery of the cultural centre Le Safran: Autour d’un genre (A gender in the spotlight) from 25 May to 13 July 2013.

Musée de Picardie programme

May - June 2013 : public restoration of the painting in the Grand Salon and shoxcasing

  • Thursday 6 June at 7 p.m. : Secret of Restoration.

21 June to 15 December : exhibition

  • Thursday 27 June at 7 p.m. : guided tour by S.C.*
  • Saturday 6 July at 3 p.m. : tour in French sign language The Restoration of Lady Godiva, by a guide-lecturer.
  • Sunday 7 July at 3 p.m. :family visit On Horseback! by a guide-lecturer.
  • Thursday 11 July at 7 p.m. : lecture The Life and Work of Jules Lefebvre, by S.C.*
  • Thursday 8 August at 7 p.m. : guided tour by S.C.*
  • Thursday 22 August at 7 p.m. : guided tour The Sketches for Jules Lefebvre's Work, by a guide-lecturer.
  • Saturday 7 September at 3 p.m. : descriptive tour adapted for blind and sight-impaired visitors.
  • Wednesday 11 September from 12:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. : Sketchy Tour (booking required on +33 (0)3 22 97 14 00) by S.C.*


* Sabine Cazenave, Chief-Curator, Director of Amiens Museums


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