A nude picture of Hollywood actress Brooke Shields aged ten has been removed by the Tate Modern after a visit from police officers.
The image had been set to go on show as part of a new exhibition featuring pornography in the taxpayer-funded gallery.
But after police officers from the Obscene Publications Unit visited the gallery on Wednesday Tate Modern closed the room displaying the picture.
The image is a photo of a photo taken in 1975 and features Brooke Shields nude from the knees upwards and wearing make up.
It had been placed in a separate room from the rest of the exhibition with a warning posted that some visitors may find it “challenging”.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The officers have specialist experience in this field and are keen to work with gallery management to ensure that they do not inadvertently break the law or cause any offence to their visitors.”
A spokesman for Tate Modern said: “The exhibit is temporarily closed. We are in discussions with police.”
The original picture was commissioned by Miss Shields’ mother, who was intent on turning her little girl into a child star.
The image was later featured in a Playboy publication.
In 1981, Miss Shields lost a court battle to get back the negatives of the image. The original was taken by Garry Gross, a US photographer, in 1975.
Mr Gross told The Daily Telegraph that he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the removal of the picture.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is being consulted over whether the image breaches the Obscene Publications Act.
A children’s charity, Kidscape, had said the picture was “bordering on child pornography. It is certainly not art”.
Kidscape’s founder, Michele Elliott continued: “If you are using a picture of a naked child to bring people to your exhibition, then you are exploiting that child.
“It’s as if they are using a 10-year-old girl for bait. I find it disturbing and they should be ashamed of themselves.
“And putting the picture in a room with a warning outside really is a magnet for paedophiles.”
The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert said: “I think that any parent of young girls would just be so shocked to hear that a taxpayer-funded gallery thinks it is alright to show photographs of a nude ten-year-old in the middle of a pornography exhibition.
“How far do things have to go before we eventually say enough is enough?”
He continued: “They took legal advice to see what they could get away with. Why didn’t they take advice from ordinary parents and the public as to what’s appropriate?”