A Who's Who of Swinging London #2

Christine Keeler

With the passing a day or two ago of former British Secretary of State for War John Profumo at 91, this is an admitted no-brainer.

For those who can't imagine why Profumo would slip around on Valerie Hobson, I'd say this photo sums it up nicely.


Vanwall said...

I think Morley liked that chair a lot - the pose was prolly more about the chair than her, and honestly, it makes her look much more sexy than any other photo. I never found her that attractive m'self, but I gather her talents were more appreciated in the dark. I'd've taken Mandy in a hot second, tho!


Brent McKee said...

Apparently the pose had a lot to do witha contract that Christine had signed to do publicity for a movie that was never made. She was required to pose nude but she didn't want to do it, so Morley shot the photo that way so that she'd be technically nude without anyone seeing her "naughty bits." At least that's the story repeated in the Wikipedia article on her.

Of course the one who really did well out of this whole scandal was Mandy Rice-Davies. She owned some nightclubs in Israel but apparently is living in the US now and is a grandmother. She had the gift of giving good quote: "Well he would say that wouldn't he."

Perry Middlemiss said...

There's a spoof of this classic image, also taken by Morley, of Barry Humphries in his Dame Edna Everage persona:


Tom Sutpen said...

Thanks for the link, Perry. I'd never seen that photo before.

Something I could never figure out about Barry Humphries and his Dame Edna character: Could he be called a transvestite comic in the mold of Harris Glenn Milstead, aka Divine (who, as far as I know, didn't dress up outside of work), or is his act more a satirical swipe (albeit affectionate) at showbiz transvestism?

Yes . . . such thoughts do cross my mind.

Vanwall said...

The Chair, which also hosted David Frost's bum at one time, is still extant in some museum, I understand. It will outlive all the players handily.

My Dame Edna vote: Spoofery


Brent McKee said...

On Barry Humphries: Definitely spoofery. Unlike Harris Glenn Milstead and Divine, Humphries has appeared a lot in characters other than Dame Edna and has another major character in Sir Les Patterson. Dame Edna is his major character - to the point where "she" has even taken acting parts - but Humphries has a far greater range than just Dame Edna.

Perry Middlemiss said...

You can find an interview with Lewis Morley (from ABC (Australia) television) here:


And a profile of the photographer, along with spoofs of the original Keeler photo - showing Morley himself, David Frost, British PM Harold MacMillan, and Homer Simpson (!!) - here:


Edna Everage, as she started out, was a Humphries spoof on his mother and the other women of her generation from suburban Melbourne in the 30s, 40s and 50s. And yes, they did dress like that. Later on the character took on a persona of its own appearing in the Barry McKenzie films based on Humphries cartoon strip from Oz magazine. The magazine that was charged in London with blasphemy and which was defended by John Mortimer (of Rumpole fame) and Geoffrey Robertson. Not sure if Humphries or Everage made an appearance at the trial. Wouldn't have been surprised if s/he did though.

But we're a bit of subject now I fear.

Tom Sutpen said...

Thanks for the info, Brent and Perry.

I knew humphries did other characters besides Dame Edna, I just wasn't sure of its intent (there's that element of Camp, you see).

And don't worry about being off-subject here. The whole point of this blog is that everything's connected in one way or another.

(I won't pretend that's what I had in mind when I started it . . . I didn't have anything in mind, actually . . . but it's how I've come to see it)

Ann O'Dyne said...

an iconic pose now.
Way-to-go, Mr Morley!

The important thing about Mandy Rice-Davies (also) iconic quote, is that she said it when she was only 19, and in the forbidding atmosphere a of a MAJOR court case, and that it also disputed a member of the aristocracy.
Very brave stuff, bless her.

Barry Humphries Edna Everage was definite spoofery.
Began in his student days, the narrow lives of women with hats coats and brooches like the original Edna 'were Melbourne', Australia.
I thought it was a pity that Edna went glossy in the 80's, although I suppose she had to. I have aunts who are still just like the original,
and I am mystified that non-Australians get the joke.

asleep said...

Apparently, the chair is faux-Jacobsen:

A few more links:




Ann oDyne said...

1. faux ? in 1963 ? wow.

2. I am sure I have seen Homer Simpson depicted nude in the same pose.

Bwca Brownie said...

TS is so right that everything is connected.
link to the story of the chair and Homer 'in it'

this links to the V&A Museum London, where the chair is, "The chair is a pledged gift from Lewis Morley and John and Laura Knaus on loan from the American Friends of the V&A, Inc.
There is a photo of the underside signed by all the sitters.

(the museum link is a very long url and may not work, just search their site for Modern Icon to get there from their homepage)