Thursday, 28 April 2011

Redheaded Venus of the Week 13: The Favourite by Luis Ricardo Falero

Venus Observations and The Seduction of Venus will be featuring a number of harem girls over the next month or so, as a result of our recent visit to Istanbul. This particular specimen, by Spanish born but British based artist Luis Ricardo Falero (1851-1896), also qualifies as a redhead of the week!

Falero isn't a very well-known artist compared with the likes of Bougereau who also largely concentrated on nudes with a somewhat fantastical theme.  Falero was born in Toledo and was in the Spanish navy, which he hated.  So he upped and walked to Paris from Spain so he could study there, eventually settling in England and living in Hampstead.

Falero was very interested in astronomy and many of his paintings have a celestial theme.  However, he also painted a number of "harem" pictures as part of the late nineteenth century fascination with the near east.

La Favorite is framed by Arab architectural elements.  Her dazzling red hair and pale skin precludes her from being a local inhabitant of the harem so her favoured status is understandable. 

We'll have some more Falero harem girls shortly.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Centrefold Venus of the Month, April: Dulcie Scott

Agent Triple P was wondering who to feature as this month's centrefold and had about six possibilities but, for some unfathomable reason, kept coming back to this one from Men Only Volume 39 number 4 (April 1974).

We have been unable to track down anything about this model but we are pretty certain that she did not live "in a small commune in a converted Elizabethan farmhouse in Kent."


Despite being photgraphed by the usually reliable Amnon Bar-Tur, she doesn't really engage with the viewer; failing to deliver a smile or even a convincing approximation of sultry.  She just lies there really.  Maybe she had been having a really bad day or maybe she was only posing in desperation to pay off her gas bill.

And yet, there is something about her we respond to.  Perhaps it's because we have experienced (more than)our share of sulky women.

Partly, it is the typical mid-seventies boudoir effect with the scattered fabric throws, the inevitable potted plants and the rather fetching stockings and garters.  Maybe it's that big brimmed hat.

Really we think it is "Dulcie" herself, however.  She does not look like the usual girls in these magazines with her big pouty lips and full, round cheeks.  Her body is chunky and solid and she has a little bit of a tummy, which we like, with a big bust.  Her legs are always artfully cut off and we would venture that she is probably quite short.

We wouldn't be indelicate enough to say that she was fat just that her mid-section looks squeezably solid.

The bunches make her look like a naughty schoolgirl from a past century.  Maybe she is attending one of those girls' finishing schools in Switzerland you always used to get in  period erotic films made in the seventies.  Always lots of skinny dipping in the lake and illicit goings on between girls in the dormitory.

The oily ones work as oily ones always do, although this is a trick glamour photographers tend to use when they have to disguise a model who has managed to get herself sunburnt whilst on location.  With an inside location Triple P just kept worrying about her making nasty marks on her bedclothes.

So, Dulcie, you do look very squeezable but we just wish you had looked as if you were enjoying yourself a bit more!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Venus with a snake 9: Angelique Ashley

Well, technically she is a venus with snakes, in the plural.  Here from Men Only volume 37, number 4 (April 1972) is Angelique Ashley one of the performers featured in a pictorial that month from the new Festival of Erotica at the Raymond Revuebar in London's Soho.

Paul Raymond's magazines regularly featured performers from his London shows; no doubt as a way to get a nice, cheap pictorial as well as publicise them to his readers.

The Raymond Revuebar, for a long time the only place in Britain to see the sort of nude shows seen in Paris and the US, operated from 1958 until 2004.  The Festival of Erotica show, mainly consisting of women strippers but also some male dancers (like Milovan of Milovan and Serena), ran for up to three shows a night.

Although many of the performers were continental (especially French) Angelique was from England.  In the end the Raymond Revuebar was brought down by the increasing number of pole dancing and lap dancing clubs in central London and its Parisian style stage shows started to look more and more old fashioned.  Raymond sold the show in 1997 but it finally closed in 2004 with the new show owner claiming, ironically, that the rents Raymond (who still owned the theatre building) charged finally put paid to it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Freckled Venus: 100 followers...and Pamela Anne Gordon

Pamela Ann Gordon's centrefold from March 1962

Shortly following on from hitting 1 million visits we now have reached, today, the milestone of having 100 followers.  So thank you to you all; your existence means that we do try to keep up the regular posting.

What better way to celebrate the 100th follower than examining the 100th Playboy Playmate who, if our calculations are correct, was Pamela Ann Gordon from March 1962.

Pamela was the first Canadian Playmate and came from Vancouver where, as Triple P well knows, they have more than their fair share of attractive women.

Time for a cocktail or two in Vancouver.  In the background can be seen the  Bayshore Inn (now the Westin Bayshore).  A view very similar to the one from our particular friend S's apartment in Coal Harbour

At the time of her pictorial she was working as a receptionist at a Vancouver construction firm but the nineteen year old Pamela was planning to go to the University of British Columbia.

Petite at 5'1", she measured a rather awe inspiring 39-23-35.

A lot of freckles on this one

The really unique thing about her was, of course, her amazing freckles.  Now in her centrefold they aren't that apparent but in some of the pictures of her, before retouching, it can be seen that she has a huge amount of them.  This was from the days when people didn't use suntan lotion, of course.

In fact there was limited retouching on Playmate centrefolds.  That is not to say that they weren't manipulated, they were, but this was done at the printing stage when the engraving was being made. 

A rare early sixties pubic shot.  It didn't appear in the magazine, of course

Playboy centrefolds were printed seperately from the rest of the magazine by Regensteiner Printing in Chicago.  Theodore Regensteiner, of course, invented the four colour lithographic process in 1894 using red, yellow, blue and, his addition, black, to develop the four colour process that is still in use to this day.

It was at the printers that the Playboy centrefold pictures, taken on the 8x10 Deardorff, would be turned into a lithographic engraving.  Any adjustments to the image were made at this stage. 

Playboy had strict guidelines and liked to push the reds and restrict the blacks in their centrefolds and remove natural skin tone.  It was quite deliberate that the centrefold image didn't look too realistic as they wanted to avoid a too sexy image.

In an interview in 1970 Art Johnson, the supervisor of the process at Regensteiner said that "Depending on the word from Hefner, freckles either stay or come off.  Or we can leave some freckles on and take others off."

In Pamela's case they have dialled back on her freckles, particularly in the centrefold as these other non-published, non manipulated images show.

Pamela the Bunny Girl

Pamela went on to work as a Bunny in the Chicago club and lived at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago.

She appeared in two Playboy calendars in 1963 and 1964.

Pamela also featured in this advertisement for the magazine but then disappeared from the Playboy radar.

 In Capilano Gardens

Here she is in the other photographs from her actual magazine pictorial; putting her blouses under some serious strain.

Her centrefold and the nude shots were taken by Mario Casilli.  The clothed ones from her pictorial were by Vancouver photographer Ken Honey.  He became one of Playboy's top scouts; Pamela was his first discovery.

So we hope our followers think that Miss Gordon is an appropriate offering for today's milestone!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Venus by a Yorkshireman: more nudes by William Etty

Musidora (1846)

We looked at some of the work of York's most successful artist, William Etty, and his statuesque nudes here.  Today we will examine some more from his prolific output.

Etty first studied in Paris in 1816, working at the studio of Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1754-1829) who specialised in large historical paintings.  His influence can be seen on Etty's Candaules King of Lydia Shews his Wife to Gyges, One of his Ministers, As She Goes to Bed. 

This picture illustrates a passage from Herodotus where King Candaules, in order to prove that he has the most beautiful wife in the world lets his minister Gyges spy on her undressing for bed. The painting attracted enormous criticism and was deemed obscene, although that did not stop it finding a buyer!

Birth of Venus

Etty had first exhibited in 1811 with two pantings one entitled Sappho and a classically themed painting Telemachus rescues Princess Antiope from the fury of the wild boar.  He coninued to paint historical or mythological subjects and did a number of portraits but increasingly produced simple nudes for collectors.

These often had no historical or mythological justification and for many he couldn't even use that other great excuse for a female nude painting; the bather, although he produced a fair few of those.

In 1822 he travelled to France Italy and stayed some time in Venice studying the work of the likes of Titian and Rubens.  it was after this period that he started to specialise in nudes.


In 1824 on his return to London he was elected as a member of the Royal Academy, defeating Constable by 18 votes to five.

Although he was atracted to several ladies during his life he never married and was considered very shy and retiring.  He certainly treated his models with the utmost propriety.

Statue of William Etty in York

In 1848 he retired and moved back to York where he died the following year.

Nymphs with a sea monster

Etty's work is somewhat variable in standard but then there was a difference between his large historical paintings and those nudes produced for collectors, some of which were not really appropriate for exhibiting in mixed company.

In particular some of his paintings show the model's pubic hair which would certainly have not been acceptable for in a painting on public view.

Female nude in a Landscape

His Female nude in a Landscape not only clearly depicts the model's pubic but also her underarm hair.  It is a rare and honest representation of an early Victorain woman in her naked reality.

Etty admitted that his drawing was not of the highest standard always struggled with it and he was happier as soon as he had reached the point in his studies at the Royal Academy where he was permtted to paint.

In particular, he often had difficulty in portraying arms which often look awkward compared with the torsos he was much happier illustrating.

At his best, however, his nudes, and particulartly some of his reclining ones, possess a rare and un-British sensuality.

One thing he was good at, though, was his handling of colour and he often laid down great swathes of paint to contrast with his pale figures.  In fact, much of his work looked forward to the work of the French impressionists and was quite avant garde for its time.

A major exhibition of Etty's work will be held later this year in the York Art Gallery where they have 78 of his paintings and over 1,000 sketches in their collection.  They will be bringing in paintings from other galleries in Britain too.  Entitled William Etty: Art and Controversy the exhibition will run from 24th June, 2011 until 22nd January, 2012. 

Agent Triple P intends to visit the exhibition later in the year which will, hopefully, provide enough information to identify and date the pictures in this post, information about which is rather scarce.

Triple P, who knows something about Victorian art (although, perhaps, not as much as Agent DVD who has studied it formally) had not even heard of Etty until he came across one of his nudes tucked away high on a wall in a remote corner of the Victoria and Albert museum some years ago.  Hopefully, the York exhibition will help rehabilitate Etty and get this influential artist's name better known in Britain.