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    Sale 7584


    15 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 87

    LEWIS MORLEY (b.1925)

    Christine Keeler, London, 1963

    Price Realised  


    LEWIS MORLEY (b.1925)
    Christine Keeler, London, 1963
    gelatin silver print, printed 1993
    signed, dated by photographer and signed by sitter in ink, blindstamp credit in margin; signed, titled, dated and numbered '(M)4/5' in ink, copyright credit stamps on verso
    14 x 11 3/8in. (35.5 x 29cm.)

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    This celebrated study of a naked Christine Keeler astride a chair became the immediate and seemingly eternal defining image of the Profumo scandal of 1963. The story is all too well known -- at least to a certain generation -- of how a verbal deception in the House of Commons on the part of minister John Profumo regarding an alleged liaison with Miss Keeler prompted first his own resignation and ultimately the collapse of the Conservative government. Less well known are the circumstances surrounding the making of this now iconic image. Morley had been commissioned to make publicity shots of Keeler in relation to a proposed film. Her contract stipulated that these should include nudes. He cleverly devised a ploy -- using the chair as a prop -- that would emphasise her sexuality through her pose, yet would be provocative rather than revealing. Miss Keeler has written: 'I like the photographs. There is a mystery there, a mask on my face. I suppose that is because so much had happened and so much remained hidden, secret.' (The Truth at Last, p.201)

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    From an edition of ten silver gelatin prints made in 1993 and signed by photographer and sitter on the occasion of their first re-encounter since the 1963 shoot. Each retained half of the edition. The present print was among those retained by Morley.


    Lewis Morley: Photographer of the Sixties, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1989, p.16, front cover (detail) & pl.10; Morley, Black and White Lies, Angus & Robertson, 1992, within cover & pp.108-09; Keeler & Thompson, The Truth at Last -- My Story, Sedgwick & Jackson, 2001, pp.188-89; Keaney, Lewis Morley Myself and Eye, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2003, pl.2; Haworth-Booth (ed.), The Folio Society Book of The 100 Greatest Photographs, The Folio Society, 2006, p.173.