The 18th century tiles will be on display for one night only

For one night only next month, amorous visitors to the Museum of London will have the chance to see the steamy side of the 18th century.

A series of erotic tiles, detailing various sexual positions and even spanking, will go on display for the first time at a late-night Valentine’s Day event at the site in the heart of the City.

The eight tiles were discovered in 1962 after a fire in an upper room of one of London’s most memorable old pubs and remain shrouded in mystery.

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

They will be part of an evening event called Late London: City of Seduction which is open to over 18-year-olds only. 

The tiles were discovered in 1962 following a fire at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese pub on Fleet Street and were handed to the museum shortly after.

Given the subject matter, they have been kept “in the deep, dark depths of the museum’s store ever since,” the curators said.

Most of the tiles show couples having sex in various positions, while one shows a woman beating a man’s naked buttocks with a switch. Another appears to show someone being lowered in a basket onto a lover below.

Experts at the museum said the clothing and furniture in the reliefs date them to the mid-18th century. They are made out of plaster of Paris and are relief moulded. While not an expensive process, the subject matter may have made them more costly for the buyers.

The curator said such erotic material “was widely available in the 18th century, if one knew where to go and had the means to acquire it,” yet added it was “very rare for them to survive”.

She could only speculate on why they were in the pub, saying they could have decorated the walls if the room had been used as a brothel or a gentleman’s private club. “We don’t know much about these objects, it’s enthralling,” she said.

“They would have been perfectly acceptable in a brothel or a somewhere like the Hellfire Club or The Beggar’s Benison, clubs for ‘free-thinking libertine gentlemen’.”

Ms Keily said London had “always been a hotbed for the seductive, saucy and down-right sordid” from the brothels of Roman London to the stews of medieval Bankside and the Restoration Rakes to Soho’s swinging ‘60s.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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