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after the masquerade

Posted at 19:14 on 2 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: Fantasies, other pictures, Victoriana, Vintage

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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