Village hall exhibition raises eyebrows

They are commonly known for their Women's Institute coffee mornings, carpet bowls sessions, and country dance events. But a Norfolk village hall is set to raise eyebrows next week when it plays host to the “world's first” exhibition of erotic cycling art.

They are commonly known for their Women's Institute coffee mornings, carpet-bowls sessions and country dance events.

But one Norfolk village hall is set to raise eyebrows next week when it plays host to the "world's first" exhibition of erotic cycling art.

The Velorotic Cycling Art and Erotica event at Weeting, near Brandon, has created international interest.

The exhibition, which includes more than 100 photos, paintings, drawings and postcards dating back to the late 19th century, runs in conjunction with the Mildenhall Cycling Rally during the bank holiday weekend.

Gerry Moore, local resident and cycling historian, who has collected the artwork from across the world, said most of the exhibition was nothing more revealing than the images in red-top newspapers. But he conceded others were "a bit naughty".

"I was only able to put it on because I am on the committee of the village hall and I had to give talks to the Women's Institute and the Mothers' Union on this, which they all enjoyed," he said.

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"All the early work was terribly shocking at the time and the nude ones were way beyond the pale. During the early 1900s when women started cycling, they were not allowed to show an ankle and when they started wearing trousers they were stoned in the streets in some places," he said.

The exhibition ranges from risqué images created by Paris art studios in 1890 to cyclists who bared all for a charity calendar a few years ago. Names like Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong also feature.

Mr Moore hoped to attract hundreds of participants from the nationally renowned Mildenhall Cycling Rally, 12 miles away. He added that an exhibition of general cycling art and locally made bicycles would be in the main hall, with the erotica in a back room. "I have been associated with cycling art for 60 years and I know most of the people around the world with collections and as far as I know, it is the world's first. We have already been approached about doing a book on cycling art and there is talk of doing a travelling exhibition," he said.

The exhibition is on August 26-27 from 10am to 4pm at Weeting Village Hall in Saxon Place. Entrance is free.

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