Wednesday, 25 November 2009


It’s not unusual to read erotic stories about Voyeurs and Exhibitionists. But we’re not really reading anything new. Painters have been telling us erotic stories for centuries. A particularly delicious picture is THE SWING, by Jean-Honore Fragonard.

The painting was commissioned by Baron Saint-Julien and features the Baron’s mistress being pushed on a swing by a bishop. Fragonard dates the picture as 1766 and the story we’re being told and the style of the work is a great example of the frivolity of the Rococo style.

It is immediately obvious what is going on here. The story is easy to read. A girl, on a swing, playfully abandons modesty, parting her thighs, exposing her genitalia to a man, watching her antics from the bushes.

“The painting is charged with the amorous ebullience and joy of an impetuous surrender to love. In a shimmer of leaves and rose petals, lit up by a sparkling beam of sunshine, the girl, in a frothy dress of cream and juicy pink, rides the swing with happy, thoughtless abandon. Her legs parted, her skirts open; the youth in the rose-bush, hat off, arm erect, lunges towards her. Suddenly, as she reaches the peak of her ride, her shoe flies off.”

Fragonard captures a moment of wonderful naughtiness. An erotic fantasy, brought alive by the painting.

THE SWING currently resides in The Wallace Collection in London. Just a short walk from Baker Street and Marylebone Village.


  1. Hmmm...I think I need to try swinging again. :-)

  2. I guess that's how they make shoe-fly pie.

    [Exits in search of Songs for Swinging Lovers LP.]

    : )

  3. I remember seeing this at the Wallace collection years ago. I got taken there on a kind of date by a chap that worked for Radio 5. I was slightly put off by said chap as he kept telling me how 'bonnie' I was and he was powerfully drawn to this painting! Needless to say I have never been one for exposing me nether parts on swings and had no plans to start! They were ever so saucy in the 18th century!.....Wonder what my date is doing these days? hopefully not lurking in bushes espying folks on swings!

    kisses xxxx