Thursday, April 30, 2009

Femme Fatales. Hot off the Press!

New additions to our 'Femme Fatale' collection of vintage prints. For more like these, or to purchase any of the above images click here

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mermaids, Sirens and Water Nymphs

SIRE′NES or SEIRE′NES (sirens) were mythical beings who were believed to have the power of enchanting and charming, by their song, any one who heard them. When Odysseus, in his wanderings through the Mediterranean, came near the island on the lovely beach of which the Sirens were sitting and trying to allure him and his companions, he, on the advice of Circe, stuffed the ears of his companions with wax, and tied himself to the mast of his vessel until he was so far off that he could no longer hear their song. According to Homer, the island of the Sirens was situated between Aeaea and the rock of Scylla, near the south-western coast of Italy.

Circus poster for underwater performers
the 'Sisters Wallenda'. 1895

Leagues, leagues over the sea I sail
Couched on a wallowing dolphin's tail.

The sky is on fire, the waves a-sheen,
I dabble my foot in the billows green.
In a sea-weed hat on the rocks I sit,
where tern and sea-mew glide and beat,
and where dark shadows the cormorants meet.
In caverns cool when the tide's a wash,
I sound my conch to the watery splash.
From out their grottos at evenings beam,
the mermaids swim with locks agleam.
Walter de le Mare

French risque postcard siren

Lyres were dying in the harmonious air,
Languorous exhaltations came from the calyxes
And the swooning sailors felt the slow delight
Of velvet kisses settling on their eyes.
Albert Samain

'L'Eau des Sirenes'
Vintage poster for hair colourant
by Jules Cheret. 1899

O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears.
Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote;
Spread o'er the silver waves thy golden hairs,
And as a bed I'll take them and there lie,
And in that glorious supposition think
He gains by death that hath such means to die;
Let Love, being light, be drowned if she sink!

a Vintage Venus Original

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Max Ernst

Born today (April 2) in 1891, Max Ernst - probably my favourite artist, and one of the greatest surrealist painters and sculptors.

'The Robing of the Bride'. 1939

'One of the founders of the Dadist group in cologne, Max Ernst began by refusing traditional painting. His imagination was more likely to be stimulated by the patterns on a mahogany panel, the grain of a wooden floor, or by what he saw in a mechanical catalogue.

An Ernst frottage. c.1929.

He became an expert in the exploitation of chance effects, using the techniques of collage and frottage to express the hidden meaning of things, which he always integrated into his very personal mythology. In this way he re-invented painting, yet what interested him was less the plasticity of the image than the way in which it gave birth to new, unknown worlds.

Max Ernst with fourth wife
Dorothea Tanning (-another wonderful artist).

Of all the Surrealist painters, Max Ernst is unquestionably the most lyrical. His work may be defined as that "forest of symbols" which observes man with "familiar regards". Despite the sense of foreboding his works hint at, they have an encompassing power. Through his supremely child-like vision Max Ernst leads us to experience the world as a fable.'
source: 'Ernst' By Pamela Pritzker

'L'Antipape' (detail)
'The Antipope'. 1942

Anita Loos

Born today (April 26) in 1893, American author/playwright Anita Loos.

'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'
Book cover art 1926

Although she started writing for legendary Hollywood film director D W Griffith whilst still a teenager, and worked on over 60 films, she is most renowned for her classic novel 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925).


The story of Lorelei Lee and her breathless adventures in Europe has become a 20th century classic, and was called 'a masterpiece of comic literature'.


Today its best known incarnation is probably the 1953 film starring a delectable Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei Lee, with Jane Russell as her best friend Dorothy. The musical piece 'Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend' being one of the most celebrated and best known Marilyn performances in film history.

Marilyn as Lorelei Lee

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Electric Ladyland

'The Musical Electric Stars'
Vintage circus poster (1897)

'Signorina Margherita'
Vintage circus poster (1907)

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Vintage advertising poster by Lefevre. 1897

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.....Lights out now. Goodnight!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bettie Page Pin-Up Queen

Notorious 1950s American pin-up model Bettie Page was born today (April 22) in 1923.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Edie Sedgwick

Born today (April 20) in 1943, 'it girl' Edie Sedgwick.

In the sixties she exploded into the public eye like a comet. She seemed to have it all: she was aristocratic and glamorous, vivacious and young, Andy Warhol's superstar. But within a few years she flared out as quickly as she had appeared, and before she turned twenty-nine she was dead from a drug overdose.

The 2006 movie Factory Girl, starring Sienna Miller & Guy Pearce, charts the rise and fall of Edie.
..but for a true gritty timepiece, the 1972 film Ciao! Manhattan is essential viewing.

Edie documentary found on you tube

Also born today:
Surrealist painter Joan Miro (1893), Adolf Hitler (1889), silent film actor Harold Lloyd (1893), surrealist Michel Leiris (1901)

Joan Miro

The Hunter (Catalan Landscape). 1923-24

Born today (April 20), in 1893 Spanish painter and surrealist Joan Miro.

'Of the great contemporary masters, Miro stands out for the exuberant poetry, wit, and spontaneity which pervades his work.
From the early Catalan landscapes, influenced by Fauvism and Cubism, he progressed in the early 1920s to the 'dream paintings' - largely abstract works in which he tried, in the Surrealist tradition, to capture the images of the unconscious mind. Then, in the early 1930s, a sense of prophetic anxiety showed itself in a new series of paintings which revealed a savage violence and an inner anguish. This mood did not, however, suppress Miro's desire to experiment in unconventional combinations of materials and to enjoy the startling juxtaposition of unconnected images. From these inventions emerged a new language of signs that has been one of Miro's major contributions to art.

Nocturne. 1935

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield in 'Too Hot to Handle' (1960)

Jayne Mansfield burst on the Hollywood scene like a rocket in 1955. One of the biggest sex symbol stars of the 1950s and 1960s, Jayne was second only to Marilyn Monroe and personified the era of the Blonde Bombshell. Known for her love of children and animals, Jayne also possessed an IQ of 163 and was known as one of the most friendliest, as well as publicity loving, stars of the era.

She was the first American motion picture actress to ever appear nude in a legitimate major motion picture. Known for having one of the most sensational hourglass figures ever. 40D-17-36.

Her first film was a bit role as a cigarette girl in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955). Although the roles in the beginning weren't much, she was successful in gaining those roles because of her ample physical attributes which placed her in two other films that year, Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) and Illegal (1955).

Her breakout role came the next year with a featured part in The Burglar (1957). By the time she portrayed Rita Marlowe in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) and Too Hot to Handle (1960), Jayne was now known as the poor man's Marilyn Monroe. She didn't get the plum roles that Marilyn got in her productions. Instead Jayne got roles that was more of a showcase for her body more than anything else. Jayne did have a real talent for acting, but the movie executives insisted she stay in her dumb blonde stereotype roles. For the balance of her career, Jayne never received any standout performances although she was more than capable of doing them.

On June 29, 1967, Jayne was killed when the car in which she was riding crashed into the back of a semi on the road near Slidell, Louisiana. Her lawyer Sam Brody also perished in the accident. The beautiful woman who starred in only 25 films, the woman who fought so hard for respectability, the woman who, in her own right, was a very good actress was dead at the age of 34. Her final film, Single Room Furnished (1968) was released the following year. source/more

Pleased to accept a ticket from 'Miss Traffic Stopper'.
Jayne poses as a motorcycle cop. (1962).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vintage Horse Lovers

Aren't they gorgeous? A favourite vintage theme ....beautiful women with horses.
Most of the images below, which we have restored, are from original vintage French postcards almost a century old.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin, the English film director and actor, regarded as the greatest comedian of all time, was born today (April 16) in London, 1889.

Charlie's father died when he was a child, leaving the family in straitened circumstances, and his first regular education was in the school at Hanwell Poor Law Institution. These hard times are often mirrored in the poignant contrasts of humour and sadness which are a feature of his early films. By the age of eight he was a seasoned stage performer, but his skill in comedy developed under Fred Karno. As a member of his vaudeville company he went to Hollywood in 1914 and entered the motion picture business, then in its infancy, making 35 films in his first year.

In these early comedies he adopted the bowler hat, out-turned feet, moustache and walking cane which became the hallmark of his consummate buffoonery in The Kid (1920), The Gold Rush (1924),The Champion (1915), Shoulder Arms (1918), etc.

His art was essentially suited to silent film and, realising this, he experimented with new forms when sound arrived, as in City Lights (1931), with music only, and Modern Times (1936), part speech and part mime.

Eventually he entered the ordodox sound film field with the satirical caracature of Adolf Hilter in The Great Dictator (1940).

In Limelight (1952) he acted, directed and composed the music and dances. His left-wing sympathies caused him to fall foul of the rabid anti-Communist factions of post-war America, and he emigrated to Switzerland the same year. Later, the biting satire of A King in New York (1957) mocked the American way of life.

He was knighted in 1975.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dames Are No Dice

Book cover art by Reginald Heade
for 'Dames Are No Dice' by Slim Vincent (1950).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vintage Sewing & Sewing Machines

Photo c.1904

This image currently under restoration - available soon as fine art print.

Standard Sewing Machines Poster

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'Sewing by puppy power'

Among the forgotten marvels of Victorian invention, one device caused considerable outcry during the 1870s. This was the dog-driven sewing machine.
The apparatus was marketed and actually used in some English households, employing a special set of wheels which were moved by a little dog on a leash. The dog trotted round and round a movable disc.
Thankfully, the Victorians were becoming sensitive to the mistreatment of animals, and the curious apparatus was banned after pressure from the Society for the Prevention of cruelty to Animals.

'Zwicky' sewing thread poster

Russian Singer Sewing Machine poster

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jean-Paul Belmondo

Born today (April 9) in 1933, French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, whose role in Jean-Luc Godard's 'A Bout de Souffle' (Breathless) in 1960 made him one of the key figures in the French New Wave.

Above trailer from 'Breathless' found on youtube


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