Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Harem Venus: Odalisque by Frederick Vezin

Here is our final harem girl for harem girl month.  An odalisque by the American painter Frederick Vezin (1859-1933).  Vezin was born in that most artistic of American cities, Philadelphia, where Triple P spent an enjoyable week a few years ago.

He studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in Germany and died there in 1933. The Düsseldorf School influenced the American Hudson River school and, as a result, many other American painters went to study there.  

Vezin's family were originally French Huguenots and some of them fled France for Germany, settling in Hanover.  Another branch of the family, who had stayed in France, moved from Bordeaux to Philadelphia in 1813.  The family connections with Germany made it easy for Vezin when he wanted to study in that country and he joined the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie in 1876.  Apart from a short stay in Münich he lived in Düsseldorf  until his death.  His uncle lived in London and he travelled there and did a painting of Henley Regatta.  Most famous for his landscapes, portraits and interiors this painting is an unusual subject for him.

An odalisque (the French form of the Turkish odalik) was a maid to the concubines and wives of the Ottoman sultan.  If she was particularly attractive she might be trained to sing or dance and thus earn the chance to become a concubine.  Perhaps this young lady is doing an audition!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Harem Venus Scheherazade by Sir Arthur Streeton

Scheherazade (1897)

Here is a spare but splendid interpretation of Scheherazade by Australian impressionist painter Sir Arthur Streeton (1867-1943). Streeton's parents were English and they met on the ship taking them to live in Australia, where Stretton was born in Geelong in 1867.

Streeton studied at the National Gallery Art School in Melbourne.  He travelled to London in 1897 but couldn't replicate the success he had achieved in Australia.  He served as an official war artist in France in 1918 but, unlike his contemporaries, his war pictures are strangely empty of people; focussing instead on the landscape of battlefields.  It is as a landscape painter that he is best known and today his paintings of Australian scenery fetch millions of dollars.  He was knighted in 1937.

His striking painting of Scheherazade is free of all the usual orientalist fripperies and is all the more effective as a result.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Harem Venus: The Harem Beauty by Francisco Masriera y Manovens

The Harem Beauty (1889)

This confident looking harem lovely is the work of Catalonian artist, writer and goldsmith Francisco Masriera y Manovens (1842-1902).  He first studied under his father, a silversmith, in Barcelona at the age of thirteen. Between 1862 and 1870 he made several trips to Paris, Rome, London and Geneva. By the age of 31 he had his own studio back in Barcelona.

He was a commercially successful painter alternating between lucrative portraits, genre painting and orientalism; although unlike some other painters of the time he didn't actually travel to the Middle East or North Africa.

He continued with his interest in silver and gold working and s decorative vase he designed won a silver medal at the Paris Exposition of 1889.

Non-centrefold Venus of the Month 17: Lisa Mei-Lee, January 1977

January's non-centrefold of the month comes from Oui magazine, the (at this point) slightly racier publication from the Playboy stable.

Triple P  posted a couple of picture from this set in one of our regular reviews of The Pubic Wars and the complete pictorial was requested by one of our readers, Big Daddy Rex.

We're sorry that it has taken two years to post but we work out who is going to appear in these centrefold and non-centrefold posts months or even years in advance.

Miss Mei-Lee is a bit of a mystery as a model.  We can't find anything else out about her at all which, thankfully for our readers, reduces the amount of waffle we can spout on about her.

We are not even sure that she is Chinese.  She is certainly not pure Chinese but might, conceivably be part Chinese.  In some pictures she looks more Asian than others.  On balance we would guess that she has some oriental blood given the slightly almond shaped eyes and straight pubic hair.  We've been entertained by a number of young ladies of Chinese extraction over the years and they all had straight pubic hair.

Many of these pictures on the page were quite small; with the vertical format ones being arranged in threes along the top or bottom of the page.

This pussy caressing shot was quite strong at the time for Oui but this pictorial was shot by Suze Randall during her brief period with Playboy Enterpises.  She would shortly move to Hustler where her more explicit style would flourish.

Both of these shots are variations on the two page title picture.  This is quite an economical shoot.  You don't get the variations of clothing seen in Playboy (where the shoots would go on for days).  There are also  a very limited number of set-ups with Lisa assuming slightly different poses in front of a just a few different backgrounds.

This page and a half spread was one of the reasons most of the other photographs in the pictorial were so small.  Randall is using an unusual for her, Penthouse style soft focus effect in this pictorial. 

The final two pictures are the ones we have already posted in The Pubic Wars post.   There is nothing particularly groundbreaking in this set but Lisa is a lovely, slightly exotic girl with a nice, soft-looking body.   The setting has a good Shanghai nineteen twenties look about it too and it is well lit by Randall.

We hope Big Daddy Rex spots this post! We are always happy to take requests from our readers for a particular pictorial, if we can find it.  We have every copy of Playboy, Penthouse and Oui from the nineteen seventies, for example, plus a number of other magazines from the period.   Bear in mind, however, that we are intending to post in the relevant month this year.  So if you ask for another Miss January it will be a year before she is posted!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Venus Passing: Alexandra Bastedo 1946-2014

Agent Triple P was sorry to hear of the death of actress and animal campaigner Alexandra Bastedo last weekend.

One of the most beautiful women to appear on TV (actually, one of the most beautiful women to appear anywhere) she was most famous, and best remembered by Agent Triple P, for her appearance as Sharon Macready in the ITC thriller The Champions in 1968.  

Born in Hove, on the south coast of England, she got her first film role by winning a competition when she was sixteen. She flew to Hollywood to make the film The Candy Web (1965) and Alfred Hitchcock offered her work but her parents made her return to school. She was due to go to university but picked up some minor TV roles in her gap year so decided to stick with acting.

Casino Royale

In 1967 she had a brief role in the alternative James Bond film Casino Royale starring David Niven.

AT the age of twenty she was cast in The Champions where she was part of a team of agents working for the Nemesis organisation.   During a mission they crash land in Tibet and are given enhanced human powers by mysterious monks.  In the series, Miss Bastedo always looked very much like an enhanced human.

Unlike, for example, the later The Persuaders from the same company, The Champions was a low budget effort with no location shooting at all.  Miss Bastedo, however, always looked luminous in every episode in a collection of a la mode clothing.

The series was particularly popular in Spanish speaking countries and as a result Alexandra appeared in a number of Spanish speaking films; eventually learning to speak Spanish fluently (as well as Italian and French).

Pirelli Calendar

In 1970 she appeared in the famous Pirelli Calendar photographed by Francis Giacobetti.  Famously she refused to take off her clothes for the shoot.


Her shyness seemed to have disappeared by the time she made a series of films in Spain during the seventies and early eighties. Including Stigma (1980) by the Spanish director of cult British horror Vampyres (1974), which starred Playboy Playmate Anulka Dziubinska.

With Brian Blessed (playing a Cypriot!) in The Aphrodite Inheritance

Triple P also remembers her in the effective and unusual Cyprus-set British TV thriller The Aphrodite Inheritance 1979).

Eventually, fed up with all the travelling, she settled down, cut right back on her TV work and married theatre director Patrick Garland. who had a long association with Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex.  Her final screen credit was a tiny part in Batman Begins (2005).

Always interested in animal welfare she set up the ABC Animal Sanctuary in Sussex.  Over the last few years she had been struggling against; cancer, the appearance of which she blamed on taking two many fertility pills in her thirties as she tried, unsuccessfully, for a child.

Still stunning in her sixties

By all accounts she was a woman who was as intelligent, cultured and compassionate as she was beautiful.  She was 67.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Harem Venus: Seductive Dance by Louis Icart

Seductive Dance (1935)

Time for another harem girl and they don't get much more seductive than this one by French artist Louis Icart (1880-1950).

This etching was part of a series of 23 illustrations for a limited edition of the eighteenth century satirical novel La Sopha: conte moral by Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crebillon.

We will look at more of these illustrations over on our The Seduction of Venus blog shortly.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Birthday Venus: Lourdes Ann Kananimanu Estores

Today is Agent Triple P's birthday.  Not many famous people share this birth date with Triple P but one who does is the luscious Lourdes Ann Kananimanu Estores who was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for June 1982.  This picture of her (above) is one of our all time favourite Playmate pictures of the eighties.  Fluffy!

The nineteenth of twenty children (!) she worked as an assistant for a politician in her home state of Hawaii, then was a stewardess on Delta airlines for more than a decade and was selected to be a torch bearer for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic torch relay.  She is two years older than Agent Triple P.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Centrefold Venus of the Month 44: Marilyn Connor, January 1977

This month's centrefold takes us back an amazing 37 years to January 1977.  We say it's amazing because we can still remember first looking at this pictorial shortly after it came out and being stunned by it and it doesn't seem that long ago!

We saw this pictorial in a copy of the UK edition of Penthouse which someone brought along to school.  We hadn't actually seen a men's magazine since the previous summer and hadn't been aware of the increase in explicitness which had taken place in the previous six months. 

Interestingly, at this time, we had just acquired (or, more properly, she acquired me) our first real girlfriend who had joined the local archery club which Triple P had also just joined as it meant that we could avoid games at school, as we were allowed to substitute it for organised activities.   This was important as in the autumn and winter terms it was a choice between, football, rugby or cross country running.  Now the only sport Triple P was any good at was 400m running so running miles in the cold wasn't quite our thing.  After a quarter of a mile our legs seized up and we had to walk the rest of the way which took ages.  Anyway, this girl, A, was really, really pretty.  Up until this point we had largely been impressed by women's figures to the exclusion of faces but this girl switched us on to the erotic power of the face.

This young lady, Marilyn Connor, had, Triple P thought at the time, a really lovely face too and we have not since changed our mind, either.  Obviously, photographer Stan Malinowski thought the same as well.

Malinowski took Marilyn to the ski resort of Aspen, Colorado during the summer for these pictures and, unlike any other man's magazine at the time (and even more so now), included some scenic shots of the surroundings with no trace of Marilyn in them at all.  

No doubt it was a great opportunity for Malinowski to show off his photographic credentials and the pictures certainly add to the pictorial, getting over a tremendous sense of place.  Some of them look like Japanese woodblock prints and they must have appealed to Bob Guccione's artist's sensibilities as he let so many of them appear in the final pictorial.

One of the things we like about Penthouse pictorials from this period is that there would often be quite a lot of shots of the girls fully dressed which, somehow, rooted them more in reality as people rather than pieces of meat, as Larry Flynt once described the women in men's magazines at the time.

So we have no less than eight non-nude shots of Marilyn in the pictorial, split between the outdoor and interior locations of the shoot.

In addition we have three close up portraits of her face or partial face confirming her outstanding beauty.

The pictorial's first shot of her naked has her perched on a rock like some form of dryad.  There is one of her up in the woods where she looks equally classical and rather like one of those Weimar Republic photographs of a healthy German maiden striking a pose in the countryside as she exposes her perfect (35-23-36 in Marilyn's case) body to the health giving (as they then thought) rays of the sun. 

It takes some time before we start to get some more Penthouse style shots but we begin with this group of interior shots, where Marilyn has to struggle against some typically garish seventies prints.

Penthouse loved its mirror shots and here we have an interesting variation on them, focussing on Marilyn's superb legs reflected in a mirrored corner.  Penthouse said she was five foot eight and she looked it.

At a time when Penthouse was asking its models increasingly to play with their pussies we got just this one effective shot of Marilyn probing inside her knickers.

Her tan lines seem to barely contain the gorgeously fluff pussy that emerges from underneath her sheer knickers.

This impressively lit shot was one of those that impressed Triple P all those years ago, as the light illuminated that brazenly displayed pussy and shockingly glimpsed anus.

There were two shots in that Aspen staple, the hot tub. although as there weren't any in Britain at the time we probably couldn't have identified it as such.  The breast squeezing one harks back to the early days of Penthouse when such poses were characteristic.

The final three shots in the pictorial really impressed Triple P as well.  More used to the pale and doughy young women in the likes of Mayfair, which was then more popular at school because it used some well known Page 3 models, we had never seen a woman photographed who looked like she was dripping in sweat like this.  Even now we look at this final photograph and can almost smell her.

Sadly, Marilyn never appeared again in Penthouse and we haven't been able to identify her in any other magazines of the period either.  We have some outtakes from the magazine sessions and the first one is from the rock dryad setting.

The next two are interesting in that they show the full outfit she was wearing in the mirror shot of her legs from the magazine pictorial.  

Here is another interior shot of her in the white stockings.  These shag pile carpets were very popular in the seventies especially in inappropriately bright colours!  Triple P had an orange one in his bedroom!

Here we can see her putting on her towelling bathrobe ready for a good roast in the sun.  We hope she didn't burn herself in the sun, especially as she was at altitude.  Triple P remembers that at this time we used sun cream that was a massive factor four. 

Here is Marilyn looking delightfully sweaty again.  We spent a very hot August in Rome once, when most sensible Italians had got out of the city, and can remember our Italian girlfriend, I, sunbathing naked like this by the pool in the garden of her house south east of the Circus Maximus.  We certainly enjoyed her slick, sweaty sunbaked skin.

The final two are remarkable in that Malinowski chooses to ignore Marilyn's eyes, thus bringing her luscious lips into full focus.   The top one makes her tits absolutely tactile: you just want to squeeze them and suck them.  The bottom shot is all about that deliciously pink damp cunt.  A lovely, salty, lickable treat!

So we like Marilyn as, for Triple P at the time, it was a very different sort of man's magazine pictorial and all the better for it.  The 1977 Pets of the Month had some all time classic pictorials amongst their number and this is certainly one of them.