NARRATOR: The picture that you see in front of you shows the sculptor, Canova, mallet in hand, with his friend Henry Tresham. Tresham is admiring the plaster model that Canova has just finished. It shows Cupid embracing a beautiful princess called Psyche.
STORYTELLER: Psyche was so beautiful a mortal that Venus, Goddess of Love, became jealous. She sent Cupid, her son, to shoot her rival with one of his arrows and make her fall in love with the first miserable creature she saw. But when Cupid saw Psyche it was he who fell in love. He carried her to his palace and promised to treat her well, as long as she never looked at his face. But curiosity got the better of Psyche and one night she crept into the chamber where Cupid slept, holding out an oil lamp to light her way. Expecting a monster, she saw a God. Stunned by his beauty she let the lamp slip and a drop of hot oil fell - awakening Cupid with a cry of pain. In the wink of an eye, both he and the palace vanished. Psyche wandered the earth looking for Cupid but could not find him anywhere. Then Venus appeared with an offer: do as I command and you can win him back.
STORYTELLER: The grateful Psyche agreed, unaware she was to be set terrible tasks no human could accomplish.
NARRATOR: Venus made her sort a mountain of grain.
STORYTELLER: Which she did with the help of friendly ants.
NARRATOR: Venus bid her capture golden sheep.
STORYTELLER: Which she did with a magical reed.
NARRATOR: Finally, she sent her to the depths of Hades itself - to bring back a box containing the essence of beauty. Psyche was ordered not to open it.
STORYTELLER: But again curiosity got the better of her. When she opened the lid a dark cloud of despair enveloped her and she fell into a sleep as deep as death. Venus seemed to have triumphed… .until Jupiter, King Of The Gods, took pity on Psyche's labours of love and carried her body up to Heaven, where Cupid woke her with a kiss.
NARRATOR: This is the moment, you can see in the painting, captured by the sculptor Canova.
You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.
EXHIBITION: If you could keep only one memory, what would it be? This summer the V&A presents a dramatic vision of the future through an immersive exhibition experience. Sky Arts Ignition: Memory Palace is a walk-in story that brings to life a new work of fiction by the author Hari Kunzru.