Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth cathedral removes 'distressing' nude paintings

Portsmouth Anglican cathedral Image copyright Steve Daniels
Image caption The cathedral said members of the congregation had "expressed distress"

A cathedral has withdrawn a series of nude paintings from an art exhibition after attracting complaints.

Portsmouth's Anglican cathedral said "worshippers expressed distress" at the four depictions of women by artist Joe Greenwood.

It said it had agreed with exhibition organisers to remove the work, in order to "balance the needs" of all visitors.

Mr Greenwood, 40, said he was unhappy that his work had been deemed "inappropriate".

He said: "While I'm obviously disappointed that my opportunity to exhibit has been affected... I don't bear a grudge against any of the parties involved."

Image copyright Joe Greenwood
Image caption Image showing a part of one of the withdrawn paintings

The paintings were part of a summer show put on by Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society (PHAS).

A cathedral spokesman said the paintings were initially "considered to be suitable" but had attracted a number of complaints from visitors and the regular congregation.

Paul Buckley, PHAS chairman, said the society had discussed the paintings with clergy before the show.

He said: "We received permission to hang them on panels well away from and screened from the altar.

"Unfortunately during the first few days of the exhibition it appears there have been complaints and objections from members of the cathedral congregation, which we have not seen."

He said the cathedral had asked PHAS to withdraw the paintings under the terms of a hire agreement.

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