>after the masquerade

June 2, 2009 at 7:14 pm (fantasies, other pictures, Victoriana, vintage spanking images)

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A few years ago I got hold of a large, gold-covered Taschen paperback. Taschen isn’t the most prestigious brand, but they introduced me to a lot of my favourite art growing up (and enabled me to discover fetish photography at a tender age, thanks to the ease with which you could buy books of classic photographs of lingerie and corsetry from budget bookshops).

This volume was called 1000 Nudes, and compiled the photography collection of Uwe Scheid. I started flicking through it on the train, looking for out-of-copyright nude studies I could use as inspiration for erotic paintings. I was astonished – and delighted – to discover a handful of spanking photos dating from the late 19th and early 20th century.

I marked all the pages with post-its, scanned them all, and have been posting them on and off to this blog ever since. This is the last one.

This photo fascinates me for a number of reasons. The composition seems a little artificial, but that just adds to the sense of theatrical mystery that surrounds the scene. The anonymous masked tormentors, the elegant furniture – it all suggests that the scene is taking place at a rather debauched evening revel – or after it.

I absolutely love the hopeless expression and limp posture of the spankee. Has she drunk too much after-dinner sherry, causing her to allow her captors such shocking liberties? Has she been blackmailed, or overpowered? Is this the first time this has happened, or is she doomed to suffer again and again at the hands of her vicious acquaintances? I like to think that her will to escape has been broken, and she’s resigned to enduring her fate. She’s physically pinioned by the lady straddling her waist, but she isn’t attempting to struggle: she’s already given up. Her bottom is as yet unmarked; one wonders what power is being wielded over her that makes her so readily accept her own helplessness.

And because I am ever predictable, I can’t let this pass without mentioning the bloomers. A full Victorian evening gown, disarrayed to uncover a froth of white undergarments, untied and loosened to reveal a smooth-skinned, shapely, vulnerable bottom. Perfectly framed for a thrashing.

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>threatened with the crop

April 29, 2009 at 6:14 pm (other pictures, vintage spanking images)

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I love this lesbian photo from the 1920s. The eye contact between the two women; their voluptuous curves; the contrast of the thin, whippy crop pressing into the soft side of the sub; her wordless plea for mercy, which she will quite clearly not receive…

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>hold on tight …

February 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm (other pictures, those crazy kinksters, vintage spanking images)

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It’s not unusual for the spanking to be the least painful aspect of a CP shoot. I have back problems and inconveniently tight hamstrings; if my trapezius muscle isn’t aching, then my legs are usually trembling from the effort of touching my toes. As such, I prefer positions that grant me some degree of stability. Being able to rest my weight on a trestle or desk is ideal. I prefer to lean on my forearms than my hands, as it makes my bottom stick out more attractively as well as taking some of the weight off my thighs.

I would find it very difficult indeed to lean on a a moving handhold. And yet that’s exactly what the spankee in this picture seems to be doing:

What is she holding onto? Winches of some kind? Weights? Either way, they don’t look very steady. They look, in fact, like they’d wobble crazily from side to side unless she kept her poise perfectly symmetrical.

Perhaps that’s why the top is holding tight onto her shoulder, to keep her in place when the blows start to fall?

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>the mystery implement

February 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm (other pictures, Victoriana, vintage spanking images)

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Tuesday’s post has got me in the mood for some genuine Victoriana. I’ve had a couple of comments and emails from those of you who like watching a girl hold open her own split bloomers in preparation for a punishment, and I couldn’t agree more. But how about the bloomers being held apart by someone else?

How hot is that? The poor girl is helpless and outnumbered, held in place by one tormentor while the other one lays into her exposed bottom. I particularly like the way the spankee’s head is hanging in embarrassment and shame. I tend to hide my own face when I’m being punished, and during a shoot photographers usually prefer you to keep your head up so they can get facial reaction shots. But whenever I do see an image with a girl in that pose – shoulders bunched, head tucked away – there seems something very natural and vulnerable about it.

I don’t know what this girl’s done to deserve her whipping, but the outfits and body language are so good I don’t really care. But – what’s she being whipped with? The photographer was so busy trying to fit three dynamic poses into their composition that they have cropped the implement out of the frame. It could be anything. A hazel switch? A riding crop? A wet haddock? Who can tell?

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>carry a big stick

January 14, 2009 at 10:58 pm (other pictures, those crazy kinksters, Victoriana, vintage spanking images)

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I’m healing nicely, if by “nicely” you’re referring to scabs and itching. The bruises are getting that old look, and I think the last stroke might leave a scar. At least, it’s starting to look like one of those pasted-on fake wounds. Make that sexy if you can. ;)

Speaking of welts, how’s this for a vintage spanking photo:

I love the classic Victorian “chained beauties” theme – it seems to have such an innocence to it, despite the total lack of innocence implicit in voluptuous naked girls being photographed bound and helpless. But one has to wonder if this photographer was genuinely into caning girls. At the very least the person in charge of props seems to have got the wrong end of the stick. As it were.

Pain4Fem gave us a choice of canes: 10mm or 12mm, peeled or not peeled (Amy tested them out and voted for unpeeled; I said I’d have what she was having. I may have still been slightly dazed by the sight of Amy thrashing the air in the studio with full force). And one huge rod the size of a walking stick, easily 18mm or 20mm across. Peter laughed about it but we weren’t entirely sure whether it was a joke or not.

I’ve been hit by something that thickness before, and not with the kind of power that we were subject to in our judicial punishments. This domme appears to be using it with a gentle wrist action. I can tell you now, something that size would never leave neat little welts like that.

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>a tribute

December 12, 2008 at 1:46 pm (in the news, links, other pictures, vintage spanking images)

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Earlier this week I saw an article saying that Bettie Page had suffered a heart attack at the age of 85, and was in hospital near San Francisco. She never regained consciousness, and died this morning.

Bettie’s story is a poignant one. She was a secretary before she turned to modelling, and her free spirit and joyous, unashamed sensuality took the world by storm. She made a name for herself as a a glamour pin-up, as a fashion and lingerie model, as a switch in bondage and spanking shoots. She was one of the first nude Playboy centrefolds, and one of the most photographed women of her time.

From what I’ve read, she wasn’t particularly kinky. Rather she was fascinated by human sexuality, endlessly curious and a versatile actress. She delighted in trying new things and enjoyed the silliness of fetish modelling. When fans, on meeting her, expected her to behave like a Domme or sub they were usually disappointed.

When she was subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness in an obscenity case, in which certain of her pictures were condemned as pornographic and damaging, she never recovered. She withdrew from public life for fifty years, becoming a born-again Christian and refusing to let anyone take her photograph. She struggled with mental health issues.

These days Bettie Page is praised for her self-determination and sexual liberation. Her work is iconic among vanillas and kinksters alike. She’s credited with influencing the sexual revolution of the sixties. But her retirement was a troubled one, and she may have lived with anxiety or regret about her modelling career for the rest of her life.

We know there’s nothing unhealthy or damaging about kinky pictures. We know that Bettie’s exuberant celebration of sexuality found the same joyful expression in her BDSM work as in her radiant outdoor nudes. We know that she didn’t have anything to be ashamed, or embarrassed, or troubled about.

I hope she came to realise that as well, in the privacy of her old age. and I hope she came to accept and celebrate her sensuality, her exhibitionism, her wilder side. Rest in peace, Bettie Page. You changed the world, and you deserve to feel good about that.

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>pulling her hair

September 24, 2008 at 7:31 pm (other pictures, vintage spanking images)

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There are several things I love about this spanking photo from the 1920s. The hair-pulling, first and foremost – one of my favourite things in real scenes, and I don’t get to see it nearly often enough in photos. The happy little smile on the sadist’s face reminds me of my own sadists, and contrasts deliciously from his sub’s obvious discomfort. This seems much more real than a lot of the vintage spanking photos I’ve seen.

Then there’s the way the power relationship is made explicit in both the photo’s composition and the body language of the models: the sub on all fours at the bottom of the frame, naked except for some scraps of underwear that only serve to emphasise her nakedness; and the top standing, fully clothed, above her. And the position of his hand on her bottom invites curiosity about quite how intimately he’s caressing her…

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>you’re doing it wrong

September 23, 2008 at 5:08 pm (other pictures, those crazy kinksters, vintage spanking images)

>There’s an odd tendency in vintage spanking erotica towards spankees with saintlike, patient expressions, eyes lifted heavenward, perhaps in an attempt to convey an impression of penitence. Unfortunately, the result is often a scene in which the girl being punished looks bored out of her brain:

In fact, in both these pictures the spankee seems to be an anonymous sidekick to the cute little spankers who are the focus of attention. Both of them look deliciously cross, a bit hot and flustered, and utterly adorable. I’d normally expect to see pouts like that on the face of the girl being spanked – in fact, if the facial expressions of the two girls were reversed, these pictures would both make slightly more sense (the eyes glancing heavenward could perhaps be read as an expression of tested patience on the face of the spanker).

The girl in the first is showing off her perfect breasts to such fine advantage that one might be forgiven for supposing that the photographer was more interested in this part of her anatomy than her victim’s posterior. (Given the matching spotty pyjamas in these two photos, they may well have both been taken on the same shoot.) F/m fans are used to the domme stealing all the limelight, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in F/f.

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>Erotique derrières

August 26, 2008 at 5:28 pm (other pictures, vintage spanking images)

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While I was moving house, I came across a bunch of old postcards which I’d forgotten I had. I’ve had them since a friend visited France a few years ago.

“Would you like me to bring anything back for you from Paris?” she asked. I’d only visited Paris once, at that point, with my parents. I remembered the fascinating stalls of art cards on the left bank, filled with tantalisingly erotic prints which I’d wanted to linger over, but hadn’t dared with my parents nearby.

So I asked her to bring me some rude postcards from the left bank, and she very kindly obliged. I don’t think I’d really discussed my interest in spanking with her very much, but the prints she chose were surprisingly … focussed:


“Back is Beautiful”, Jeanloup Sieff, 1986

I love so many things about this image. The composition of the light; her poise and grace; the focus on the derrière but suggestion of elegant power in her bearing. Something about the mood of this image reminds me of Olivia Manners :)


“La Prière”, Man Ray, 1930

This photo is, of course, incredibly famous (and I saw the real thing in the Pompidou Centre a few weeks ago) but this postcard was my first introduction to it.

And my two absolute favourites:


“Le Régard Oblique I” and “Le Régard Oblique I”, Robert Doisneau, 1948

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>the historical punishment of juveniles

August 13, 2008 at 11:20 am (fantasies, implements, links, other pictures, spanking art, Victoriana, vintage spanking images)

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I’ve just discovered a fascinating website: an archive of historical material about the corporal punishment of juveniles. It’s lovingly researched, focussing mostly on the punishment of boys, and contains a wealth of primary sources, including illustrations, press cuttings and personal accounts.

I could get lost in this collection for hours. Schools, reformatories, the military, judicial punishments, care homes are all covered here. There are sections on the cane, birch and tawse, richly embroidered with historical drawings, photos and accounts from the time. Like these two, showing the caning of boys in the navy:


1906 drawing of a shipboard naval caning, published in ‘The Humanitarian’, a campaigning journal

I was caught doing something which if I had been in the navy proper would have got me ‘cells.’ I was brought before the captain of the training ship and sentenced to 12 cuts of the cane. I was taken at once to the sickbay and told to strip off except for my socks and was given a pair of white duck punishment trousers. These are always worn by a boy who is to be caned. Then I was marched into the gym where the master-at-arms checked to see that I hadn’t sneaked in any padding. I was told to stand to attention and the surgeon general came in with the regulating petty officer, who is always deputed to give the cuts and was carrying two long canes.

I was made to lay over the end of the gym horse and was held in position by two well-built boy ratings. The captain came in and said ‘Carry on’ and the RPO lifted the cane in a wide semi-circle to the back of his head and brought it down with considerable force. After each stroke the master-at-arms called out ‘Cut delivered sir.’ At the end of the 12 cuts I was taken to the sickbay where my injuries were inspected. The marks had already turned a mauve-blue in colour.

(A sailor recalls being caned as a boy in a naval training establishment; punishments of this kind continued into the 1960s and 1970s.)

Or these descriptions of 19th century judicial birching:


A 19th century birching table used in Scotland. This ingenious design subdues the prisoner by confining his arms through two holes cut into the table top.

The two boys were both found guilty of theft and sentenced to receive 12 strokes of the birch. The sentence was to be carried out at 1pm, after the birch had been pickled for two hours. It consisted of a number of long thin lashes tied to the end of a stick about 2 feet long. Each lash had a resemblance more to wire than wood. At the appointed time the magistrates arrived to witness the punishment and the sobbing boys were brought in. A move was made to the courtyard at the back of the gaol, a dull, bare piece of ground surrounded by high walls. In the middle of the courtyard had been placed a bench, similar to a school form.

“Now then, down with your trousers, quick!” said one of the constables Although the two culprits obeyed the command their movements were not very rapid. One of the constables quickly unbuttoned one of the fellow’s braces, and his trousers were pulled down so as to leave his buttocks bare. Almost with lightning rapidity he was placed on his stomach on the form. One constable at one end held his hands with an iron grasp and the other took the wretch’s legs.

The official who held the birch stepped forward both hands holding the rod, and with all his might and main commenced to administer the punishment. The boy began the most piteous howling and yelling and red marks appeared almost immediately across his buttocks. After three strokes his right buttock was like a piece of raw beef. After the sixth stroke the constable moved round to the other side of the form and administered six hefty strokes across the left buttock. The boy evinced the most unearthly yells and blood was immediately drawn. The constable took pride in the fact that the culprit would not be able to sit down for quite a time.

(eye-witness account of a juvenile birching, published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1887)

There’s dozens more; enough to satisfy any spanko appetite. Go, explore, indulge yourself. It’s well worth a look.

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