Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Prudish British monarch had Dutch painting painted over
A man crouching in a corner of the market, defecating. The British royal family did not like that and had the 1643 Dutch painting painted over. Curators from the private collection of Buckingham Palace have found out, and have restored the painting.
It involves A Village Fair with a Church Behind by Isaac van Ostade. The discovery was made in the preparations for an exhibition of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age.
In 1810 the painting was purchased by King George IV. But he is, according to the British curator, not responsible for the censorship of the scene. “He was a man of the world and had no problems with indecent scenes.” One of his successors who appreciated the scene less will have ordered this camouflage.
Quinten Buvelot, curator at the Mauritshuis museum, says it is not clear when the censorship was done, but is not surprised. “In the Victorian era, people were more prudish. This happened at many more times.”
Buvelot is on behalf of the Mauritshuis involved in the exhibition. He calls the find no exception. “The Dutch painters showed many details. Also a different painting from that collection was painted over.”
That is a Jan Steen from 1673. On it, a man peeing was painted over. An X-ray scan discovered that detail earlier, and the work was restored.
The Dutch curator is pleased that the paintings will soon hang in their original state in the The Hague museum. “You want to show them as the artist intended.”
Starting next week, you can see the 27 paintings at Buckingham Palace in London. End of September next year, the exhibition will travel to the Netherlands. Until early 2017 the works will be in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
Adam And Eve Finally Naked Again After Prudish (And Super Awkward) Cover-Up. How one museum scraped away a botched attempt at censorship: here.