Kate Moss has let out a cheeky secret about the tattoos stamped over her bum - they were etched by late painter Lucian Freud.

The supermodel has long flaunted the inkings - two small sparrows at the base of her spine - while frolicking in skimpy bikinis on holidays.

Now she's revealed the man behind the bird designs is actually Lucian, who she bonded with in 2002 after agreeing to pose naked for one of his portraits.

He told Kate how he used a scalpel and permanent ink to tattoo sailors during World War II, and she was more than happy to let the artist make his mark on her, too.

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She told Vanity Fair: "He told me about when he was in the Navy, when he was 19 or something, and he used to do all of the tattoos for the sailors. And I said, 'Oh my God, that's amazing.'

"And he went, 'I can do you one. What would you like? Would you like creatures of the animal kingdom?' I said I liked birds and he replied, 'I've done birds. I've got it in my book.'

"And he pointed down at a painting of a chicken upside down in a bucket. And I said, 'No, I'm not having that.' And then he said, 'Maybe I should just do you.' And I thought, I'm not going to have a girl on my a**e. So we decided to do a flock of birds."

And Kate, who also has tattoos of an anchor, heart and star, joked that her bottom is worth a lot more thanks to Lucian: "I mean, it's an original Freud. I wonder how much a collector would pay for that? A few million?

"If it all goes horribly wrong I could get a skin graft and sell it. It's probably the only one on skin that's still around, because when he was in the Navy he was about 19. Can you imagine?"

Lucian's painting of Kate reclining while pregnant with daughter Lila Grace went under the hammer for £3.9m at auction in 2005.

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