The Fallen Madonna

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The Fallen Madonna, usually referred to as The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies,[1][2] by the fictional painter van Clomp is a portrait of a bare breasted woman, which provides a running gag in the BBC1 television comedy series 'Allo 'Allo! (1982–1992), written by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd. The first episode of the first series of 'Allo 'Allo! (1984), following the pilot, was titled The Fallen Madonna.[3] In an earlier pilot, the painting was referred to as The Reclining Madonna. As the series progressed, a second painting, The Cracked Vase with the Big Daisies by Vincent van Gogh, was included alongside The Fallen Madonna as a plot element.

Recurring theme[edit]

'Allo 'Allo! was set in the French town of Nouvion during the German occupation of the Second World War. Its focus was a café in the town square run by René Artois (played by Gorden Kaye). There were sustained attempts by the occupiers to appropriate the Fallen Madonna, a local treasure, to provide a nest egg after the war. Among those who coveted it were the local German commandant Colonel Kurt Von Strohm (Richard Marner) and the Führer Adolf Hitler himself on whose behalf Herr Otto Flick (Richard Gibson) of the Gestapo was instructed to secure it (but secretly wanted it for himself).

In the end of the 'Allo 'Allo! series the Fallen Madonna is found long after the war by an elderly René; he and his mistress Yvette quickly elope to Spain with the painting to live happily ever after.

The painting was seen and hidden in various guises; it was often secreted, with suggestive possibilities, in a long knackwurst sausage. An incredible number of forgeries of the Fallen Madonna were made, mostly by Lieutenant Gruber and Monsieur LeClerc, which were hidden in knackwurst sausages in René's kitchen. The forgeries were subsequently destroyed in various ways (burned, blown up, minced, eaten by a dog, etc.).

Sale of prop and Longleat replica[edit]

Replica of The Fallen Madonna, displayed at Longleat

Having previously sold for £4,000 in 2007, the original prop portrait from the series sold for £15,000 at East Bristol Auctions in December 2018. The picture was purchased by a buyer in Nouvion.[4]

Following his assistance with an event connected with the programme, the BBC presented the 6th Marquess of Bath with a specially commissioned copy of the prop that was hung alongside Old Masters in Lord Bath's ancestral home, Longleat.[1][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wiltshire Times, 16 December 2005, Say ‘Allo’ to new Longleat feature. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  2. ^ "Fallen Madonna to go to new buyer". BBC News. 25 April 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  3. ^ Broadcast 14 September 1984
  4. ^ "'Allo 'Allo's Fallen Madonna sells for £15,000 at auction". BBC News. 1 December 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  5. ^ The Return of 'Allo 'Allo! (BBC), 28 April 2007