A generous reader’s kind donation to the collection, an unusual and eminently interesting tintype image, which appears to have been woefully ill-treated in the past - how fortunate that it survived at all!
A fine Victorian stereoscopic photograph with a musical theme, a handsome violinist poses entirely nude - for reasons unexplained, as this is not a profession or pastime generally performed without respectable attire! This must have been a naughty delight at the time, the double image forming a fascinating three-dimensional illusion (a forerunner of the later 3D photographs and film viewed with coloured glasses) and as with all new technological innovations, swiftly turned toward making novel forms of erotica.
An endearing little snapshot of some sort of game taking place, with boots braced sole to sole they each grip a stick and presumably see who can pull the hardest to win, if not a prize, at least the momentary glory!
Attributed to both von Gloeden and Plüschow in various places, I’ve not been able to pin down a definitive origin for this outstanding photograph, a strapping young man carrying an amphora balanced rather elegantly on one shoulder, the intensity of his stare at once captivating and a little severe.
Another for the admirers of a perfect plump posterior, this exquisite young man’s luscious curves captured by Guglielmo Plüschow, like-minded cousin of the better-known Wilhelm von Gloeden.
At first glance the handstand may look a little proposterous, but take a moment to admire the balance and strength displayed in holding such a pose, every muscle taut and defined; though we cannot see his face his body is beautiful.
Simple yet sweet, a classic example of Wilhelm von Gloeden’s accomplished and admirable photography of the male nude, taken in Taormina, Sicily, circa 1890.
Truly living up to the title Antique Erotic, this little low-quality scrap of pornography dates back to the end of the 19th Century. I should love to see a finer copy, though even in this poorly reproduced form, it is possible to recognise both the setting and the stars : we saw them here putting a funnel to extraordinarily inventive use!
A charming 19th Century photograph of two well-dressed young chaps, unselfconsciously displaying their affection with easily interlinked arms. I wonder what their matching strong-handled bags contain - they look a great deal like that my grandfather used to transport his set of bowls to various village greens across the county!
A difficulty in curating this collection into its third year is remembering all that I have featured before - just this afternoon I almost posted a photograph I had shown a long time ago (this, if you wonder what was so pretty I was enamoured all over again). I did catch my error in time, and instead have found a different yet no less lovely photograph by F. Holland Day, to fulfil the intended amount of dreamy delicate images he so perfectly supplies.
A new find from a familiar set of 19th Century pornography - clearly intended as the first in the series depicting the seduction of a well-dressed young man, as he is significantly more dressed at this point than the others I have posted thus far!
Although my selection of studio photographs usually features double portraits of affectionate gentlemen sitting together, I happened across this picture taken in the Floridsdorf district of Vienna, c.1900, and was so struck by the spectacular hat I just had to give him a moment in the spotlight! An opulent concoction of feather and flower atop what appears to be a relatively everyday and sensible gent’s hat, we can only guess at what prompted him to wear such magnificent and overblown decoration for his photograph, and if, indeed, he wore this on a more regular basis than the single occasion on which it was recorded!
Hubert Julian Stowitts, displaying his truly fantastic physique and the superbly strong poise and lean muscular power of the professional dancer - his first career before moving on to film acting, and later, painting. Photographed in this series of dramatically posed and lit promotional pictures by Nickolas Muray in 1922 - a touch outside my usual era but when the images are so very striking as this, I can no longer resist including them!
An exemplary piece of von Gloeden’s work, with all the aspects for which he is renowned : a fine model in the first flourishing of his manhood, the perfect bloom of youthful beauty still on his handsome face, the classical feel lent by carefully chosen timeless settings. And then there is the detail to fill the frame with added attraction; once we have our fill of admiring the sitter, we can take in the finishing touches which add much to the scene, a vase, a jar, perhaps sculptural stonework, and so often flowers, some significant in their meanings. He was both the first to present this style of photography to the world, and widely regarded as the best.