Lady Godiva painting set for French palace display

The painting of Lady Godiva on a horse
The artwork of Lady Godiva was painted by John Collier in 1898 [Herbert Art Gallery ]

A painting of Lady Godiva has been loaned to France ahead of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The 19th Century artwork of Coventry's medieval legend was painted by John Collier and was part of the city's Herbert Art Gallery & Museum’s collections.

But the museum said it had been sent to be displayed at the Palace of Versailles to coincide with the equestrian events this summer.

"This prestigious opportunity allows one of Coventry’s most treasured works to gain international exposure," spokesman curatorial manager Martin Roberts said.

“We look forward to seeing it return to Coventry in November after captivating audiences in France."

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, the Earl of Mercia, one of the most powerful noblemen in 11th Century England.

According to the legend, Leofric became so exasperated by Godiva's endless appeals to reduce Coventry's heavy taxes he declared he would do so if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace.

She did so with her hair covering all her body, except her legs.

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