History unclothed with nudes in the Novium in Chichester

Chichester’s Novium will turn Nudium as models cast aside their clothes to pose naked - or nearly naked - with tastefully-positioned spears and shields.

Lucie Cookson, who runs classes, exhibitions and demonstrations with her Tidy St art company, has been approached by the city’s new museum to offer a life-drawing session on the premises.

Lucie Cookson

Lucie Cookson

The idea is that the disrobed models will pose with artefacts from the museum’s collection - in front of a couple of dozen portrait-painters.

Lucie stresses the session will be open to everyone, whatever their abilities.

“When the museum asked me, I did have a little bit of a giggle,” Lucie admits. “But they have got some terrific things there - spears, a great horn, helmets with plumes. I think they just want to bring some more creativity into the museum!

“I am going to have two models, a male and a female. We have chosen the antiquities. They do have quite a lot of war stuff there, but it didn’t seem right. The older things seemed better.

“Maybe the models will be partially clad. Perhaps it doesn’t seem right to be standing there naked with a spear, but we will just have to see. There might be loin cloth or a bit of tactful drapery.”

Equally, though, if it feels right, it could well be the full monty in the museum.

Lucie has a bank of models available - and for the artists, it will be the most fascinating of challenges: “It’s about the flesh and about the anatomy. As a portrait artist, I love painting flesh, and usually the clothes are a bit of a drag. You are essentially talking about cotton and denim which isn’t very interesting. There is just something about the nature of the flesh, the texture, the colour, and the body becomes timeless if it isn’t dressed. If you have the clothes on, you are tying it to a certain moment.”

The session will be at the Novium on August 20, from 6.30-9.30pm, with places £10 available from the museum in advance. Lucie is looking for around 25 artists, which she will maybe split into two groups, with a model for each. She will give a basic grounding in working with the nude to anyone who wants it. At the end of the session, she may well bring the two models together and combine the groups.

As for what happens next, all will be revealed... depending how well the first sessions has gone.

More details on www.tidyst.com.