Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. In 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry. People of Coventry were suffering under her husband’s oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva asked her husband to remit the tolls. Leofric said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair. Just one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation in one of the most famous instances of voyeurism. In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind. In the end, Godiva’s husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes.
John Collier – Lady Godiva (1898)
Permanent link to this article: http://niftynude.org/john-collier-ladi-godiva-1898/