Paedophile artist's photographs and paintings must be destroyed, judge rules

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Where does art end and obscenity begin - and when is it acceptable for the law to order that paintings and photos be destroyed by the state? Those were the questions facing a judge in the functional surroundings of a London magistrates' court. District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe found herself ruling on the indecency or otherwise of hundreds of photographs and paintings belonging to the artist Graham Ovenden, who was jailed for two years in 2013 for sexual abuse offences.

Before his conviction on six counts of indecency with a child, Ovenden, 72, had been controversial for decades because of his paintings and photographs of naked or semi-naked young girls. Some people had previously sought to defend him, including, reportedly, some of his former child subjects and the artist David Hockney who, in the early 1990s, is said to have written: "The idea that children naked are not beautiful seems to me hideous." But in court 1 of Hammersmith Magistrates' Court, Judge Roscoe ruled that scores of Ovenden's photos were indecent and should be destroyed. [...]

Ovenden also claimed that the judge had ruled that 40 photographs by the 19th-century French artist Pierre Louys were indecent, while sparing a painting of a paddling, half-naked girl, which he claimed had been "personally commissioned" by Diana, Princess of Wales, to be auctioned for charity. Outside the court, Ovenden described the forfeiture hearing, brought by the Metropolitan Police under Section 5 of the Protection of Children Act 1978, as "a complete farce".

source: Article 'Paedophile artist's photographs and paintings must be destroyed, judge rules' by Adam Lusher;; The Independent; 14 October 2015