By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
An oil painting of a nude woman went back on show today - more than 60 years after it was banned for being 'too brazen'.
The portrait of a naked woman smoking was bought by a public gallery in 1947 which proudly displayed it for all to see.
More than 20,000 people queued up to see it - until it caused an row with church elders.
Brazen: The painting by Sir Gerald Kelly of a nude woman smoking has gone back on show - more than 60 years after it was banned
Embarrassed council chiefs in Newport, South Wales, decided the painting was scandalising their town and ordered it to be taken down.
The picture which became known as the 'Newport Nude' has been locked up in a vault gathering dust - until now.
It has gone back on show at an exhibition in Newport called The Art of the Nude where it is still the talking point among 90 other pictures and sculptures.
But now more people are complaining about the fact that she is smoking in public rather than her nudity.
Robin Hawkins, the gallery's curator of art and design, said: 'World War II had just ended when the picture first went on display in Newport.
'It caused quite a controversy and that increased the interest - thousands came to see it.'
One of the gallery visitors told a local bishop she had seen a schoolgirl sniggering at the nude.
Gerald Kelly was born in London, educated at Eton College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and later lived and studied art in Paris. James McNeill Whistler was an early influence. Kelly travelled much, visiting Spain, America, South Africa and Burma which inspired a series of paintings of Burmese dancers.
In 1920 he married Lilian Ryan, who became his model for a celebrated series of portraits. These were exhibited under the title Jane, followed by a Roman numeral that corresponded to the year of exhibition. Other sitters included T. S. Eliot, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Somerset Maugham, whom he painted 18 times.
Maugham, a lifelong friend of Kelly, wrote an introduction to a catalogue (1950) of an exhibition of Kelly's work. Maugham regularly portrayed Kelly in his works, as Lionel Hillier in Cakes and Ale, as Frederick Lawson in Of Human Bondage and as O'Malley in His Excellency presenting him as "the young Irish painter called O'Malley", and dedicating Ashenden to him.
He became a favourite painter of the Royal Family. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1930, was the Academy's keeper 1943-45 and President, 1949-54. Kelly held a number of official positions, such as his membership of the Royal Fine Arts Commission, 1938–43, and was knighted in 1945. The artist John Napper worked as his assistant. In 1950 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary Corresponding Academician.
Kelly died in Exmouth in 1972. He is represented in many public collections, including the Tate Gallery, which holds seven works.
Mr Hawkins added: 'We would consider it none of those things these days but she does come across as a confident young woman of her time.
'The way she looks out from the canvas and the pose is a very bold one all created a lot of fuss and attention back in 1947.'
The nude - titled D.D after the initials of the model - was painted by Sir Gerald Kelly who painted the Royal family of the day and later became president of the Royal Academy.
It was bought by Newport's Museum and Art Gallery for £250 after it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1947.
But the painting has proved to be a good investment for Newport - its current value is thought to be around £30,000.
Visitors to the gallery were today unflustered by the brazen nude - but were more offended because she is smoking.
Office worker Elizabeth Ayres, 38, of Newport, said: 'She's a bit of a Fag Ash Lil but I can't imagine why the painting would be banned.
'Maybe it's because of the way she is staring - women in those days weren't allowed to be that brassy.'