The scene captures a stunning young woman, naked, astride a strong horse. She looks tired and deep in thought, whilst her campanion holds its head high and breeds confidence. The horse is dressed in some beautifully painted detail, dressed in regal heraldry that decorates elements of its head dress. In the background we see several elements of traditional stone architecture, which again is used to create this atmosphere of the middle ages. A side street can be made out on the right hand side of the canvas, and this allows further architectural features to be added. The painting completed by Collier that we find in front of us here helped to lift his artistic reputation to a whole new level, with the detail proving accessible to the masses. Collier's career, as a whole, is not as famous as many British artists, but he produced several highlights which were particularly memorable and are constantly referenced when considering the merits of British art during that period.

Lady Godiva is owned by the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, UK. The gallery actually holds a number of artworks devoted to this figure, due to her connection to the area. There are contributions from the likes of Edwin Henry Landseer, John Clifton, Adam van Noort and David Gee. She was believed to have ridden through the streets of Coventry naked, as a means to persuading her husband to rethink his decision to tax the poor. That is precisely the content found in Collier's painting, whilst the others capture different parts of her famous life. She would also be featured in the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, whose enchanting literature would inspire a number of other famous British artists, such as John William Waterhouse with paintings such as The Lady of Shalott. You will find similarities between these two paintings, with an attention to capturing the beauty of slim, pale young women within settings inspired by classical styles.

Lady Godiva in Detail John Collier