An Affair to Remember

Iconic photograph of Christine Keeler Sells for Five Times Estimate at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury's London Auction

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The iconic photograph of Christine Keeler sitting astride a chair and signed by the lady herself, sold for over five times its estimate at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions sale of Photographs and Photobooks on Friday 22nd November.

Published at the height of the notorious Profumo Affair, which led to the eventual downfall of the Macmillan government, the photograph had been in the possession of the vendor since it had been purchased directly from Christine Keeler. It is now in the hands of a private UK buyer.

The famous photograph was taken by Lewis Morley in 1963 to promote the planned film The Keeler Affair, prompting debate as to whether she was completely nude. In her 2013 biography, Secrets and Lies, Christine Keeler wrote: "I am always asked if I wore knickers for the shot astride the chair. I certainly did. But it had been a battle to keep them on. Morley had wanted to photograph me without any clothes on but I used the chair to cover my bust and pulled up my white knickers around my waist. " The photograph sold for £14,260 [Lot 123]

A photograph by the famous Hungarian photographer and sculptor, Brassai, was another highlight of the sale. Brassai moved to France in 1924 and remained there for the rest of his life where he flourished, along with a number of other Hungarian artists living in Paris between the wars.

His fascination with the city and its inhabitants is seen throughout his photography and his work is acclaimed for capturing the essence of Paris at the time. Taken in 1932 this signed copy of 'Un Couple d Amoureux dans un Cafe; was taken in a cafe on the ground floor of the hotel in which he was living, near the Place d'Italie. The photograph sold for £12,400. [Lot 65]

Nobuyoshi Araki is considered to be one of the most prolific photographers in the world, and one of the most celebrated in Japan, having published over 400 books since 1970. The photograph 'Untitled (Watermelon) from Colourscapes, 1991' was a cibachrome print of one of his most famous works. Signed in black felt tip on the reverse the photograph sold for £14,880. [Lot 210] Describing himself as a 'subjective photographer', Araki tries to break down the barriers between the photographer, the subject and the viewer. His work is considered controversial in both the East and the West, described as erotic but often regarded as pornographic.


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Apex Philatelics. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

Bloomsbury - 25th November 2013