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Copy of a Goya nude in a Cessnock Hotel, February 1962. Photo by Ron Morrison

Nudes, beer and pasta in 1960s Newcastle

In the 1960s a nude picture on the wall of your pub or restaurant might have caused strife with the authorities: unless of course it was a copy of a nude by an old master, which is a different thing altogether.

In a Cessnock pub, for example, a local artist daubed a copy of Goya’s Nude Maja for the edification and titillation of Coalfields drinkers. I don’t know which pub was so gorgeously adorned, nor the name of the copyist, nor the fate of the copy.

Here’s a link to the original, so you can judge the quality of the copy for yourself.

Copy of a Titian painting at Oliver’s Restaurant in Newcastle, April 1967. Photo by Ron Morrison.

Meanwhile at Oliver’s Restaurant in Newcastle, artist Guiseppe Risicato made this copy of Titian’s Venus of Urbino. I recently met the son of a chef who worked in the restaurant at the time, and he told me that Guiseppe declined to be paid for his work, requesting instead that a bowl be placed near the picture for donations. I was told that he received the contents of the bowl at regular intervals, apparently doing quite nicely from the arrangement. I’m not sure if it’s true, but it’s a good story.

As noted in our book, Newcastle in the 1960s, some diners reported that the picture didn’t help their digestion.

Here’s a link to the original Venus of Urbino.

Thanks to Ron Morrison for these pictures.

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