Sunday, February 20, 2022

03 works , PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Lewis Morley's Christine Keeler, with Footnotes. #102

Lewis Morley, 1925 – 2013
Christine Keeler, 1963
Silver print
53 by 45.5cm.; 20⅞by 17 7/8in.
Private collection

At the height of the Profumo affair in 1963, Keeler sat for a photographic portrait (Above) taken by Lewis Morley. The photo shoot, at a studio on the first floor of Peter Cook's Establishment Club, with Morley was to promote a proposed film, The Keeler Affair, that was never released in the United Kingdom. Keeler was reluctant to pose in the nude, but the film producers insisted. Morley persuaded Keeler to sit astride a plywood chair, so that whilst technically she would be nude, the back of the chair would obscure most of her body. Keeler told cartoon historian Tim Benson in 2007 that she was not nude and was, in fact, wearing "knickers" during the entire photoshoot. 

Alternative unused shot of 21-year-old Christine Keeler from the famous 1963 photo session in Lewis Morley’s Greek Street studio. . . Right, in 1990, a fully-clad Keeler returned to the pose she made famous for a photograph taken by Terry O’Neill

Christine Margaret Keeler (22 February 1942 – 4 December 2017) was an English model and topless showgirl. Her meeting at a dance-club with society osteopath Stephen Ward drew her into fashionable circles. At the height of the Cold War, she became sexually involved with a married government minister, John Profumo, as well as with a Soviet diplomat. A shooting incident between two of her other lovers caused the press to investigate her, revealing that her affairs could be threatening national security. In the House of Commons, Profumo denied any improper conduct but later admitted that he had lied. This incident discredited the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan in 1963 in what became known as the Profumo affair. Keeler was alleged to have been a prostitute and although this was not a criminal offence in itself, Ward was found guilty at trial of being her pimp – a trial only instigated after the embarrassment caused to the government. More on Christine Margaret Keeler

Lewis Frederick Morley (16 June 1925 – 3 September 2013) was a photographer. He was born in Hong Kong to English and Chinese parents and emigrated to the United Kingdom with his family. He studied at Twickenham Art School for three years, and spent time as a painter in Paris in the 1950s.

Morley began his career with assignments for magazines such as Tatler. He was also a successful theatre photographer. His publicity photographs for the Beyond The Fringe revue (1961) included a study of the cast Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller which was used for the best selling LP Cover of the show.

Morley emigrated to Australia in 1971. He did studio and commercial work photographing architecture and food in magazines, and worked with interior designers and stylists such as Babette Hayes, and Charmaine Solomon until his retirement in 1987. In 1989 he collaborated with photographs curator Terence Pepper in staging his first museum retrospective at London's National Portrait Gallery. His first autobiography Black and White Lies was published in 1992.

Morley died in September 2013 aged 88. His archive was subsquently donated to the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. More on Lewis Frederick Morley

Terence Patrick O'Neill CBE (30 July 1938 – 16 November 2019) was a British photographer, known for documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O'Neill's photographs capture his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings.

His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions. He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2004 and the society's Centenary Medal in 2011. His work is held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. More on Terence Patrick O'Neill

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