British Art Museum Removes Beloved Victorian Painting in Wake of the #MeToo Movement

Manchester Art Gallery in the U.K. has removed one of the most recognizable pre-Raphaelite works of art from its walls following an outcry from feminists. 

Created in 1896, the Romantic-era painting by John William Waterhouse, titled Hylas and the Nymphs, depicts seven, nude female nymphs in a lily pond seducing a young man to into his demise. 

The gallery questioned whether, in today’s political climate, the imagery may be offensive to contemporary audiences, reports The Guardian.

The painting was removed Friday, and the gallery installed a sign letting art-lovers and feminist crusaders alike know that the decision is meant to, ““to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection.”

Clare Gannaway, speaking to the Guardian, said the decision came in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, attempting to exposed and end sexual misconduct against women in the entertainment industry. 

The painting hung in a section of the gallery with plenty of 19th century female nudes, titled, “In Pursuit of Beauty.”

Gannaway lamented male artists fascination with women’s bodies, and paintings that presented the female body as a “passive decorative art form or a femme fatale,” reports the Guardian

“For me personally, there is a sense of embarrassment that we haven’t dealt with it sooner. Our attention has been elsewhere … we’ve collectively forgotten to look at this space and think about it properly. We want to do something about it now because we have forgotten about it for so long,” Gannaway said.

Where the painting once hung, gallery-goers have taken to leaving Post-It notes sharing their views on its removal. 


In January, the gallery posted a video to Twitter of an obese black man in white face and wearing a woman’s dress parading around the In Pursuit of Beauty room, with the caption “Responding to the artworks on display…”

The gallery has also ordered the removal of postcards featuring Waterhouse’s painting from its gift shop. Waterhouse is one of the best-known artists of his era. His Lady of Shalott postcard is one of Tate Britain’s bestsellers.


feature image via Sky News






  1. Jeffery

    February 5, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Art and it interpretation is individual and personal and to assume to know how I perceive a piece of art is as huge and insult as your proposed outrage.

    • Sad Susan

      February 6, 2018 at 11:35 am

      1984 is gone and over. Welcome to 2084–early.

  2. Pingback: British Art Museum Removes Beloved Victorian Painting in Wake of the #MeToo Movement – USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page

  3. Mike Suhor

    February 5, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    I believe it was a Supreme Court Judge that once said

    “I don’t know what art is but I know what I like.”

    It sucks that the art critics are now able to run the museums…

  4. Mike

    February 6, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Only the beginning.

  5. Pingback: British Art Museum removes beloved Victorian painting in wake of the #MeToo movement |

  6. Callie August

    February 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

    This just infuriates me! Both the removal of the painting & using the #metoo movement to do it! First, it’s one of the most beautiful & famous paintings from that time period. It speaks to man’s deep seated fear of women & the power femininity holds over them. The painting makes you uncomfortable? Too damn bad! Not all art is supposed to be comfortable. Second, this movement is something we desperately need, especially here in America & places with comparable sexual assault rates like many African & Middle Eastern countries. We may be a developed country, but we have a sexual assault rate comparable to third world countries. How dare someone from somewhere like Great Britain, a place where sexual assault doesn’t happen at anywhere near the rate we face, do something to take away the validity of the movement!

  7. Dante Alighieri

    February 7, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Well, I guess Bernini’s — “Rape of Persephone” has got to go because it portrays the sexual assault of a woman.

    Good thing Jesus wasn’t a woman & women aren’t priests, otherwise all Crucifixes would be next.
    We live in an age with neither rhyme nor reason.

  8. what gives?

    February 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

    They should gift the painting to a gallery that patronizes adults.

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