Monday, 31 October 2011

Hallowe'en Venus by Bill Layne

Here is a knowing young witch-lady for Hallowe'en, for all those that celebrate it.  The artist, Bill Layne (1911-2005), spent many years working on backgrounds for Disney films including such classics as Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and Jungle Book.

He also did work for calendar publishers Brown & Bigelow (who supplied most of Playboy's initial centrefold photos) and this picture appeared as the October picture in the 1966 Esquire Calendar.

Apart  from his Disney and pin-up art a lot of his paintings appeared on childrens jigsaw puzzles, particularly in the nineteen fifties.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Venus from the rear: Beauty contestants by Leroy Neiman

We don't, on the whole, like Leroy Neiman's garish pseudo expressionist paintings; we just find them too busy.  Some of his drawings, however, are more to our taste.  This charcoal dates from the early sixties and is of contestants in a beauty contest held at Cannes during one of the film festivals there.  Commenting on it some fifteen years later Neiman was surprised at how the ideal shape of feminine beauty changes over the years. "Those women really had strong back porches!" he said.  Not a description of the female rear that Agent Triple P has heard before but the prominent waist/hip ratio favoured as the ideal in the early, pre-Twiggy, sixties is marvellously apparent, however exagerrated, in this drawing.  The low-cut bikini bottoms of the time really emphasise the rear.

Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co department store, Chicago

Neiman studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.  His big break came when he was working as an illustrator at Chicago's Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co department store alongside a young copywriter named Hugh Hefner.  Hefner used some of Neiman's pictures when he started Playboy in the fifties and Neiman's illustrations still appear in the magazine today.  At the age of ninety he continues to paint.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Non-centrefold Venus of the Month 2: Annie Walker by Ed Alexander, October 1976

For our second non-centrefold of the month we travel back to October 1976 and present Annie Walker from Mayfair magazine.

Mayfair, at this time, was running eight pictorials of girls a month compared to, for example, Penthouse's three.  We have picked this particular woman not just because we like the look of the lady in question,  Annie Walker, but because someone asked us to include some more mature ladies in our posts.

Annie was 34 when this pictorial was shot which doesn't make her a mature woman from Triple P's perspective these days but she would have been when this was published in 1976!

Annie had been a top glamour model in her earlier days (under the name of Ann Walker) and was making a comeback to modelling with this pictorial.

She had retired some ten years before and had set up her own modelling agency with financial help from her then boyfriend, photographer Ed Alexander. Alexander left her for one of her models but it was him who persuaded her to return to the front of the lens for this set.  Mayfair rarely gave a photographer's credit in this period but it would be a surprise if this set was taken by anyone else other than Alexander.

Alexander had been a top glamour photographer for some time and had had a book of his work published in 1962.  In 1975, Alexander had photographed a London Playboy Club Bunny, Eve Stratford, for Mayfair and she appeared as the centrefold in the March 1975 issue under the name of Eva van Bork.

Eve Stratford in Mayfair, March 1975

Eve's agent was none other than Annie Walker but, in the very same month that her pictorial appeared in Mayfair, Eve was mudered in London in a case that is still unsolved.  More recently, new developments in DNA testing have linked her murder with a schoolgirl killed six months later but the police have yet to find the murderer, although the case is still open.

 French Maid (1961)

 Dark Exchange (1962)

Nobody expects...Ann Walker (1964)

Walker had been one of George Harrison Marks' models in the early sixties and appeared in a number of his short films including French Maid (1961), Dark Exchange (1962) as well as the eponymous Ann Walker (1964), where she does a striptease in a dungeon, set at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, although you would have thought that one dungeon pretty much looks like another!

Here are a number of photographs of Ann Walker taken by Harrison Marks in the early to mid sixties.

She also featured in one of the magazines he published that featured just the one model every issue; the appropriately named Solo, number 26.

With trendy, short mid-sixties hair on a plane

Ann appeared in another 8mm short for director Pete Walker (who was no relation) doing a striptease in a light aircraft.

The essence of the accompanying text to the Mayfair pictorial was that she came from the innocent days of topless only black and white shots.

She said in Mayfair that she wouldn't have posed for the "more blatant" shots just appearing in the likes of "some magazines" (Men Only, Club International and Penthouse, we assume) but she much preferred "Mayfair's style".  The other main UK magazines had started displaying labia quite brazenly in 1976 but Mayfair didn't follow them.

Ann had originally started off her modelling career as an artist's model at the St Martin's School of Art in London at the age of eighteen.   It wasn't long, however, before she started doing nude magazine work.

Some mid-sixties shots

Her maturity in these shots from Mayfair gives her a welcome womanliness in an issue otherwise filled with young girls.  Agent Triple P likes her distinctive and characterful nose!

The rather garish bedspread/throw gives a good mid-seventies look whilst providing a good backdrop for Miss Walker's toned looking body.

All in all we are very glad that Ed Alexander persuaded her to model once more!

She also posesses a truly awesome mid-seventies bush; super fluffy (see above) even by the standards of the time!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Two Million Page Views!

Well, we reached this milestone sometime in the middle of last night, so to celebrate here is an outstanding shot of Raquel Welch in her prime!  We have had this floating around in our "post soon" folder  for some time and were just needing an excuse to post it!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Venus from the Rear: Early Twentieth Century nudes from French Postcards

Well, well and what do we have here!

The publishers of erotic French postcards (although of course most of them were never designed to be sent through the mail) at the beginning of the twentieth century often had to remain one step ahead of the law (although these postcards became a little more acceptable after the Great War).

 The Classical artist's approach

As a result,nearly all of their photographs are anonymous as the use of one's real name would soon have had the gendarmes calling.  Some studios used a little logo or set of initials to identify their product, as we can see on some of these examples.

From the twenties the ever popular through the keyhole approach

The publishing of these cards took a hit at the end of the decade when the Great Depression severely reduced the number of American tourists (the biggest group of purchasers) to the capital.

So these pictures are from the great decades of naughty French postcards from 1900 until 1929.  It is almost impossible to date them, of course, but the girls with longer hair are probably pre-World War One and the short-haired girls are probably from the nineteen twenties.

Most of the models were prostitutes or showgirls and many of those appearing on the postcards at the time had neither very good figures nor attractive faces. 

These ones, however, are a cut above the vast majority and so here we present a few sturdy French derrières from around a century ago.

A more contemporary spin on the theme of the bather
Most people, of course, would have had no idea what a good female figure was, as they would never have seen a naked woman unless they had access to art galleries.
For those who had been to art galleries many of these poses would have been quite familiar, as many of the photographers copied the styles of classical sculpture and neo-classical and renaissance painting.

This nineteen twenties girl has had a vaguely classical pot added to the forground in order to keep up the pretence that it is a classically inspired art piece.

Forty years before Penthouse started including them in their pictorials this girl is posed with some cut flowers in a vase.

The addition of contemporay elements, like this enticing young lady's stockings, take the picture away from the faux classical and into the present.

Vaguely ancient looking accessories such as this plinth and the girl's headdress would have just kept this image within the bounds of art-justifiable respectability.

These two reclining images also adopt a painterly approach and eschew any modern trappings.

These two images from the twenties, however, demonstrate the racier contemporary approach seen more after the Great War.  There is no pretence at classicism or apeing artistic conventions, these are just two girls flashing their posteriors for erotic effect.

And why not?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Venus with a snake 11: Elizabeth Hurley

Well here is Elizabeth Hurley in a none too subtle version of the girl with a snake theme (actually are there any subtle versions?)  The extended tongue (and we're not talking about the snake) is all a bit much we think.

Miss Hurley also posed, to some effect, with a snake for the film Bedazzled (2000).  In the film she plays the Devil (hence all the snake and apple stuff going on ) who was played, in the original (and superior) 1967 version by Peter Cook.  It's all Faust, of course.  We think that this picture is far more seductive than the more obvious one at the top.  Good grief, we are starting to sound like Agent DVD!

Agent Triple P met Miss Hurley once and found her perfctly delightful although her son, Damien (appropriately), was  a little menace!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Calendar Girl Venus: Daria Werbowy

So, you are a trendy fashion conscious femme in Paris (aren't they all?) and you buy French Vogue every month.  The magazine issues a calendar for you to put up in your kitchen so that you don't miss that vital appointment at the manicurist.


So, what would be appropriate for a calendar for a top womens' magazine?  A selection from their best fashion pictures over the decades, some French actors in immaculate suits, clothes as still life, perhaps?


No, lets use pictures of a naked woman in bed draped in jewellery!  That's just what our readers would like!


Hence, here we have Daria Werbowy, a Polish born Ukrainian/Canadian model, sprawled about looking like a Penthouse Pet from the early seventies, in a set of photographs by Mikael Jannson..


5'11" tall Daria exposes pretty much everything in this set of pictures which are, we should remind you, for a womens magazine!  She even goes full frontal on the cover.


She also appeared in the 2011 Pirelli calendar which is, of course, aimed at men (or at least it is in principle;  we suspect that these days it is more aimed at art directors and other photographers than people who sell tyres in garages).


Now of course, Agent Triple P has observed that women are much more interested in looking at pictures of nice looking naked women that men are of men.


Even given that, these images are surprisingly sexualised for their target market.  They are much more explicit, for example, than calendars produced for the likes of FHM or Maxim.


We aren't saying that we don't like them, just that we are bit surprised by them.  We can't imagine Vogue in the US publishing something like this.


We only became aware of this calendar, which was released nearly a year ago as our French friend N was talking about it the other day.  She told me that she has it up in her kitchen!  Ah well, French women.  That is why they are so fascinating!


Daria is one of the highest paid models in the world (ranks no 6 2020-2011) and still holds the record for opening the most runway shows in a year.


Triple P would be very happy to have these images of her on his kitchen wall but is surprised so many French women do as well!  Good for them, we suppose, or perhaps they only see the jewellery not the girl.