Zenga Longmore

Venus in tears

Saartjie Baartman, who performed under the name of ‘the Hottentot Venus’, became one of the most famous theatrical attractions of Georgian London. Exhibited like an animal for the entertainment of a paying crowd (‘two bob a head’), she was routinely obliged to suffer sharp prods in the buttocks from her curious audience who ‘wished to ascertain that all was nattral’.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in