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Erotic tiles go on display – for one night only

(Museum of London)

(Museum of London)

Hidden fragments from graphic tiles that were found in 1962 are shown for the first time at the Museum of London.

A series of 18th Century erotic tiles, depicting graphic scenes, will go on display for the first time at a late-night Valentine’s Day event in the Museum of London.

The eight tiles are so explicit that they have been locked away since they were discovered in 1962, after a fire at a London pub.

“We can’t normally display them because they are so graphic,” said museum curator Jackie Keily. “It is a fascinating glimpse into the sexual history of London; so few of these artefacts survive.”

Historians believe the tiles were originally used to decorate a fireplace in a brothel or gentleman’s club. The pub where they were found, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, is now a historic tourist attraction.

“Erotic material – such as these relief tiles – was widely available in the 18th Century, if one knew where to go and had the means with which to acquire it,” says Kiely.

"For obvious reasons these tiles are not normally out on public display, so we are pleased to show the complete set for the first time ever."

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