Maiden Voyages: November 2020

Nope, didn’t get to the dozen or so items that I still need to post. The simple fact of the matter is that a social life with a life mate is not conducive to maintaining a blog of any kind. Mari does not have a problem with my work here and, in fact, she has helped out from time to time. But I have entered a new phase of my life and priorities have to change.

The Samantha Gates Site: A couple of readers have reported last month that the Gates site is down. I’m afraid I cannot offer many details because Amanda who runs the site, is currently incommunicado. Her last communication to me was a few months ago. She explained that a lot of drama was going on in her life and that she would tell me everything. We were talking about a partnership in running Pigtails. That was the last I heard. Another thing to consider is that even though Gates is not ashamed of the work she did as a model, some branches of her family are quite conservative and find it inappropriate to post these things. The project was begun by Mackenzie who passed away in the early stages. She was a cousin of Sam’s and had her blessing. Also, since models are not given masters of the photos taken of them, she was keen on gathering examples of the work done with her. Amanda (Mackenzie’s best friend) carried on but since she is not a family member, she probably felt pressure to take a step back and withdraw from the project. Amanda also expressed dismay at the overly eager requests for the publishing of the nudes which she intended to post in due course. Anyway, this is a sad loss because Hajime Sawatari, Graham Ovenden and Brian Partridge contributed valuable never-before-seen materials for the site. Amanda had intended to interview Graham about his experiences with Sam (a real angel by all accounts) and she was intending to write an article based on the Ionesco materials for Pigtails (meant to be a companion to the Bourboulon post). She also told me that Sam was open to having a phone conversation with me as well which looks like it will not materialize.

[20201104] Fortunately, many people make it a habit to download websites that may be subject to censorship or closure. As a result, I am delighted to announce that the higher-resolution versions of the images to the Samantha Gates site will be republished in due course. Readers will be advised when the mirror site is in place (I believe that’s how we’re going to handle it).

[20201105] Because the Gates database is small, it did not take long to create a copy of the site. There are some glitches regarding fonts, but it’s all there including full-resolution images. Here’s the link.

Maiden Voyages: March 2019

That was a short month!

More WordPress Censorship Woes: Many readers of Pigtails are also readers of the Agapeta blog run by Christian. I have been informed that that site has been shut down due to (surprise, surprise) violations of the WP “Terms of Service”. Christian has made an inquiry for more details but is expecting the usual response that the site promotes pedophilia, sexualizes children or contains unacceptable nudity. Fortunately, all the articles (but not necessarily the images) are carefully archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. We will keep you informed when Christian makes a more definitive decision on how he wants to proceed. One possibility is that some of the items appropriate for Pigtails may be kept here. Christian has backups of all articles and images so there is not permanent loss of information.

Coming-of-Age Paradigm: An associate located an interesting book quite relevant to Pigtails readers, The Definitive Guide to Girls in Coming of Age Movies 2018 by Carl Wo. According to the author, over 800 films are reviewed including indie films and short films. When I receive my copy, we will find out what gaps exist in our own archive. There certain to be many examples as our index only includes 400+ films of which only a fraction are coming-of-age movies. [Warning: Please take note of the comments below before deciding to spend money on this item.]

Beloved Illustrator of Children’s Books Dies: On February 8th, Tomi Ungerer died in his sleep in his home in Cork, Ireland. Reportedly, his creative energies were active even into his late years and was working on a new collection of short stories when he passed away. Read more details about this remarkable artist on his official website.

It Doesn’t End with Social Media: Amanda from The Samantha Gates Archive informs me that the censorship does not end with companies like Facebook and Instagram. The general consensus about the portrayal of little girls extends even to academic institutions, namely universities and museums. One of the reasons Amanda has managed a bonanza of Samantha material is that institutions are eager to have these items removed from their collections. Not willing to take the extreme measure of destroying the materials outright, at least they have managed to find a home where they will be appreciated.

The Trouble with Gymnasts: It is well-known that whereas men have more strength than women, women are more limber and can show off their virtuosity in doing the splits. The trouble (as you may have guessed) is that some will consider such displays sexual and inappropriate, especially for young girls. The situation is not helped by ambitious coaches trying to get their protegés some media attention by teaching them how to play to the camera in a seductive way. A case in point is this video of Lilliana Ketchman, a talented 6-year-old. I am not saying that this glitzy production is necessarily over the top, but I do think it sufficiently illustrates the way capitalist forces and the concomitant desire for fame needlessly pushes gymnasts toward more sensational and vulgar displays.

Maiden Voyages: February 2019

Finally, a little time to take care of some business. This month we have two examples of social media fascism!

Social Media Fascist #1: Facebook has recently blocked images of starving children in the Yemen civil war declaring that the images of malnourished young girls are ‘sexual content’. True to form, Facebook continues to pander to the lowest common denominator of public sensibility. Read more here.

Social Media Fascist #2: As many readers know, Amanda—who has made occasional comments on this site—is in charge of the recently established Samantha Gates Archive. While considering the propriety of publishing some images of a nude Samantha, she posted censored images of the images on her Twitter feed. The “tweet” got reported and summarily removed.

Archive Objective: …And speaking of The Samantha Gates Archive, it is the site’s objective to eventually track down all published images of Samantha for safekeeping and posting. For our readers with Japanese contacts, Amanda is requesting help in tracking down hard copies of a few items that have reportedly published some of the Sawatari images. If you have any productive leads, please contact Amanda through the archive. The items are: Blue BellCamera Everyday Magazine (December 1973) and Ashi’s Life Alice Dream Calendar.

Mystery of the Missing Statue: Not a Hardy Boys mystery title but one from real life. In the Albany [New York] Rural Cemetery there is an installation of statues featuring a family. Missing from the collection is the family’s little girl, Bertha Cleveland. The prime suspect, a serial murderer, confessed to multiple thefts including some from this cemetery. However, he died in 1998 taking the secret of the disposition of the stolen items with him. There are hopes that someone will recognize the statue and come forward with news of its whereabouts.

Gauging the Portrayal of Women (and Girls): Part of the agenda of Pigtails is to bring out the need for a genuine kind of feminism allowing girls and women to speak their real voice. An associate informed me of something he found called the Bechdel Test used as a measure of representation of women in fiction. According to Wikipedia, “Media industry studies indicate that films that pass the test financially outperform those that do not”.

Maiden Voyages: October 2018

My apologies for the lateness of this post. The first of the month happened to fall on a particularly busy time.

It’s Not Easy Being an Angel: When I first made my Sawatari post, I had no idea that the model in question was identified until Pip brought it to my attention. He had already done a post on the ‘Houses of the Holy’ album cover featuring Samantha and Stefan Gates. Later, when doing the Ovenden post, I was shocked to recognize Sam in some of the photographs. Later, it was revealed that she was also the model for a series by Chadwick Hall in which only one example appears on the net. When I got to hear a few testimonials about Sam, by all accounts, she was an angel to work with. But I did notice that in a few unpublished photos, she seemed tired; and so however much she may have enjoyed modeling, it was nonetheless hard work. With so many tidbits of new information coming in, I intended to do just one more post of Samantha Gates to tie everything together. Fortunately, that is no longer necessary. Some of you may already know that some close relatives and friends of Samantha and Stefan have put together a site dedicated to the careers of the two models. Since models rarely get copies from photo shoots, especially commercial ones, much of what the public have access to, the family do not. The first success at tracking down old photos was with Hajime Sawatari who graciously shared a number of unpublished shots. Then came Graham Ovenden’s images (photos and paintings) and even a couple of drawings from Brian Partridge who also happened to have an extensive knitting and crochet catalog collection featuring a very young Sam. Plans are in the works to contact all artists who worked with the Gates children to compile the most extensive collection possible. To top things off, a few private family shots were included to demonstrate the legitimacy of the family connection. It should be noted that Samantha believes in keeping the past in the past and is not directly involved with the site, but gave permission for its inception. Included on the site are some interviews with Sawatari and there are more to come. So take a look at The Samantha Gates Archive. According to the family, Sam was not only a ham for the camera in private life, but was often found munching on one kind of food or another.

Hajime Sawatari – (Unpublished Photograph) (1972)

Under the Guise of Art: So many uneducated and fanatically religious people have made (often rude) accusations that we are using art to justify pornography. There is simply no accounting for people incapable of comprehending what we are doing. Thankfully, the law has offered some protection and cogent interpretations of the laws will confirm that we are operating legally. More than that, I fervently contend that we also operate ethically and that complaints on moral grounds are an arbitrary deference to doctrine. Our internet provider (Rainbow Digital Media) was particularly angered by a comment (not posted, of course) about what monsters we are. He replied that apart from the disclaimers posted on the Legal page, this site is registered with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as part of a requirement when the site was hosted in the UK (and previously in Sweden). Especially irritating is the fact that hardcore porn sites can be linked to our site lending a taint by association. We simply cannot do anything about that (any clever ideas?) and we are not allowing such despicable actions to stop us in our mission. Even our old domain name has been hijacked due to unfair technicalities and now is used it to promote pornography. If anyone finds something on this site they believe is illegal, they are invited to report it to the IWF who will notify us of any violations that we must remedy.

YouTube Gripes: I received a message from a reader complaining about the rampant censorship taking place on YouTube. This is hardly news, but the reader had some kind of false impression that we had the power to do something about it and implied we were some kind of hypocrites for not stopping it. It is flattering that people think that we have so much influence, but it should be emphasized that this is a volunteer endeavor and we are only as good as our contributors. Therefore, anyone who seriously wants to do something about this can read on.

Although we cannot stop YouTube from pulling videos that are copyright infringements or violate their standards of conduct (no nudity, for instance), we can preserve examples that deserve it. For instance, the short film The Spy Who Caught a Cold was originally captured from YouTube which was later removed. But as the name suggests, YouTube was really designed for personal videos and low budget and quirky productions by private individuals. Although we can make a copy of videos that have not yet been removed, it is not our business to invade the privacy of contributors. Therefore, however cute and appropriate a video may be for the Pigtails audience, we will not copy and republish anything that is strictly personal. Even though such videos may no longer be available to the general public, they are not really lost if they are kept by the contributor in question. So if you find a video meant for general public viewing and you suspect it is something that might get censored, please notify us so we can keep an archival copy—assuming it is appropriate to do so. Also know that it is not copyright infringement for Pigtails in Paint to do this given that the ultimate goal is to publish a critical review of the material in question.

Drawn Into Fantastic Worlds: Brian Partridge

Brian Partridge – Drawing Book Title Page (1986)

Every so often, I come across an artist that strikes me as exceptional. And although the artist in question may have gotten some recognition for his work, his or her fame and success does not seem in accord with his talent. In the medium of pen-and-ink, Brian Partridge is just such an artist. Consider what kind of world we would have if great artists were recognized and nurtured at a young age. At the very least, our man-made world would be one of much richer beauty.

Brian Partridge was born in 1953, in the small village of Silverstone on the edge of the Cotswolds. Adopted into a service family he travelled extensively, leading a peripatetic lifestyle until the age of twelve years. He had no formal art training, and astonishingly in view of his now apparent talent, he did not begin drawing seriously until he was twenty-five years old.

Meanwhile, he had discovered the world of secondhand book shops and developed a love for Victorian book illustration including John Tenniel’s drawings for the Alice books. Shortly afterwards he acquired Illustrators of Alice (1972) by Graham Ovenden and John Davis and found himself fascinated by the widely differing interpretations of Carroll’s stories by 20th Century artists around the world.

Brian Partridge – Sir John Tenniel (1993)

Brian Partridge – Alice in Escher Land (1997)

While visiting a postcard dealer friend of Partridge’s in Bath, he noticed a magazine for sale in a shop window called The Green Book, edited by Keith Spencer. It had an intriguing piece inside about the Ruralists so he bought it. As it happened, it was issue number one and there was a request from the editor for artists to send in black-and-white work. Partridge’s submissions were warmly received and many were published including several frontispieces. This was his first experience at being published. He became familiar with specific Ruralists such as Graham Ovenden through his Illustrators of Alice book, David Inshaw from a magazine article and Ann and Graham Arnold who knew of his work from The Green Book. Partridge was introduced to Ovenden for the first time in 1982 when he went to Barley Splatt for a long weekend in the company of Spencer. Later, he and Ovenden even invested in the magazine for a time.

Brian Partridge – Up Lazy Thing (1993)

In 1984 he became involved in an amateur production of Alice at Cheltenham’s Children’s Theatre. Besides designing and helping to build the sets, he found himself acting as stage hand, program seller and jack of all trades. This production had a profound effect on his development as an artist, and after the show’s finale, he began drawing Carroll-related themes for the first time.

Brian Partridge – Alice’s Rivals (1994)

By 1984, he had direct involvement with professional artists in the Brotherhood of Ruralists and exhibited for the first time that year through that organization. Impressed by Partridge’s latest inspirations, Ovenden suggested they collaborate on a book and together they came up with a concept for an edition of Alice in Wonderland. Ovenden would provide the photos for Alice which would be set in a ‘wonderland’ drawn by Partridge. This project was ultimately abandoned but the two did work together on the Acrostics which was handled in a similar vein.

Brian Partridge’s drawings are delicate and dramatic. They juggle with luminosity … Behind many of these pictures is a shape-shifter’s imagination like the Celtic. Women change into trees, saplings spring from their mouths. A girl’s body has a bird’s head, pinions for fingers. And is it ribbon or candle-smoke or tendril that winds among the trees? -Graham Ovenden, Inkscapes, Garage Press, 2018

Brian Partridge – Forever (Lilith) (1997)

At this stage, Partridge knew he was not skilled at drawing human figures and began to remedy that shortcoming in earnest. At first, Ovenden contributed some of his photographs of Samantha Gates for studies—even if it was necessary to trace them at first. One model, Gemma—just a chance acquaintance, borrowed for half an hour and then sent on her way—was used to produce a lot of the Alice drawings, mixed in with others, for another Alice project, this time drawn completely by Partridge. The artist considered the resulting efforts his first success at a believable likeness of a young girl. Lamentably, these fine images were not published at the time, but when a Japanese woman making a new translation of Alice saw the drawings, she wanted them for a book published in 2006. The cover, incidentally, is not one of Partridge’s designs.

Cover, Alice’s Adverntures in Wonderland, Ronso Fantasy Editions (2006)

Brian Partridge – Alice Remembering (1994)

In time, the artist had a portfolio of his own photographs so that any references to Ovenden’s photos is rare. A striking case in point is a drawing that has the unmistakable countenance of Samantha Gates, later turned into a Christmas card.

Brian Partridge – “I’m sure I can’t be Mabel” (1994)

The next image was colorized and turned into a birthday card to celebrate Ovenden’s 75th birthday earlier this year.

Brian Partridge – Domino Girl (1993)

This business of building a portfolio of model studies then took a dramatic turn. Some photographers are fortunate enough to have their own darkrooms to develop their images without prying eyes, but others with lesser means often depend on local vendors to process their film. Perhaps inevitably, the presence of nude child figures caught the attention of an overzealous technician who decided to inform the police. Partridge was subsequently arrested and charged. One of the bizarre consequences of these events is that communication between him and Ovenden was legally cut off due to Ovenden’s recent parole conditions. Fortunately, Partridge had not changed his address since 1994 and a couple of years ago, they were in touch again collaborating once again on new additions to Acrostics and other projects with Garage Press.

He also delights in irreverent portrayals of politicians as Wonderland characters; Michael Hesletine as the Hatter, Peter Mandelson with the Millennium dome on his head as the Duchess, William Hague as the Baby and Tony Blair as a manic Cheshire Cat. But he is also fond on loving tributes of worthy artists such as composers Edward Elgar and Claude Debussy. The Elgar drawings were done for a Ruralist Touring Exhibition of the same name. The Debussy drawing is considered another early success at including convincing child figures which are not to be seen in the Elgar drawings.

Brian Partridge – Claude Debussy (Children’s Corner) (1989)

Other loving tributes included Princess Diana and Shirley Temple.

Brian Partridge – The Queen of Hearts (2007)

Brian Partridge – Shirley (2000)

Until recently, Partridge had worked almost exclusively in pen and ink, producing drawings which were amazingly detailed, delicate and yet startlingly dramatic. When Tony Linsell first saw examples of his work at a Brotherhood of Ruralist’s exhibition in 1989, he immediately realized that this was the artist he wanted to illustrate his book, Anglo-Saxon Runes. It took Partridge more than two years to complete the thirty-one pictures for the book, but his drawings perfectly reflected the spirit of Anglo-Saxon folklore and tradition. A more recent book, Honeycomb, with poems by Pauline Stainer—a more modest project in size—contains fifteen of his superb drawings.

Brian Partridge – Figures in a Landscape (for Pauline Stainer) (1988)

A series on the Zodiac is one of his color examples. They were designs for postcards published by P.H. Topics. Each design included a portrait of a girl in front of a stained-glass window. The colors, images of the plants and animals and a little roundel, are all symbols associated with each star-sign. The originals were watercolors with ink to lend definition.

Brian Partridge – Sagittarius (1997)

But undoubtedly his most remarkable work to date is his complete set of illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and a series of stunning drawings of Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell, her sisters and other real people associated with the famous author. The artist’s affinity with the Alice books is instinctive. He has been a member of the Lewis Carroll Society for years, and the Society has specially commissioned work from him, including the jacket designs for its most prestigious publication to date, Lewis Carrolls’ Diaries. His work is avidly collected by members of the society, and those who cannot afford his drawings, collect his postcards and was onetime voted favorite postcard illustrator in a survey organized by The Picture Postcard Annual.

Brian Partridge – Alice Liddell (1993)

A selection of his illustrations including the Alice in Wonderland book, the more recent work based on Through the Looking-Glass and many other examples are now featured in Inkscapes, a hand-printed edition published by Garage Press. More accessible to the general public, however, are two key commercial productions: Drawn Into Wonderland (2004) which gives a behind-the-scenes overview of his Alice-themed work and the aforementioned Japanese version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Brian Partridge – Drawn Into Wonderland (Cover Design) (2004)

Brian Partridge – Frog King (1987)

Partridge’s work has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and journals and he was kind enough to provide a complete bibliography. Now that he and Ovenden have rekindled their collaboration, the artist has the chance to display his singular wit and imagination through storytelling. His latest project is a ghost story called A House Best Avoided (2018) which he believes could turn out to be one of his better efforts. The intent is to include about eight new drawings, a design for the cover and incidental ornamental work as needed. Upon completion, he plans to reciprocate for this opportunity to publish by illustrating a book of nursery rhymes for Ovenden. This is an excellent new creative outlet for the artist as the challenges of making drawings becomes increasingly onerous.

Brian Partridge – Unicorn (2003)

Ed: Until such time that the Garage Press page is established, serious collectors interested in purchasing any of the Garage Press, hand-produced volumes including Inkscapes should express their interest through our contact page and your message will be forwarded to the order fulfillment department. -Ron

A Selected Bibliography

    • Honeycomb, Pauline Stainer, Bloodaxe 1989
    • The Gardener’s Song, Lewis Carroll, Redlake Press 1990
    • Calendar (with Sue Cave), Simon Rae, Redlake Press 1990
    • Sold with All Faults, Graham Ovenden, unpublished 1990
    • Anglo-Saxon Runes, Tony Linsell, Anglo-Saxon Books 1992
    • Skeffington Hume Dodgson, Edward Wakeling, Lewis Carroll Society 1992
    • The Celtic Year, Shirley Toulson, Element Books 1993
    • Anglo-Saxon Mythology, Migration & Magic, Tony Linsell, Anglo-Saxon Books 1994
    • The Angel With The Hawklure, Pauline Stainer, Privately Published 1997
    • Acrostics, Graham Ovenden, Artist’s Choice Editions 2003
    • Drawn Into Wonderland, Brian Partridge, P H Topics 2004
    • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Ronso Fantasy Collection, Japan 2006
    • Inkscapes, Garage Press, 2017
    • The Mysterious Reappearance of Abigail Thistlewaite, Brian Partridge, Garage Press 2017
    • A House Best Avoided, Brian Partridge, Garage Press 2018


    • Nine poems, Eve Machin, Ruralist Press 1987
    • Great Tew, Simon Rae, Ruralist Press 1989
    • Secret Garden, Ruralist Press 1989
    • The Orange Dove of Fiji, Edited by Simon Rae, Hutchinson 1989
    • Some thoughts on Alice, Ruralist Press 1990
    • Little Egypt, Pauline Stainer, Ruralist Press 1992
    • Anglo Saxon Riddles, John Porter, Anglo-Saxon Books 1995
    • First steps in Old English, Stephen Pollington, Anglo-Saxon Books 1996
    • The Diaries of Lewis Carroll (in ten Volumes), Lewis Carroll Society 1993–2007
    • English Country Lanes, Elisabeth Chidsey Smith, Settle 2002
    • Thalia, Privately Published, Leeds 2003
    • Life & Work of Phillip Dodgson Jaques, Lewis Carroll Society 2004
    • Diana in Art, Mem Mahet, Chaucer Press – Pop-Art Books 2007
    • Emblem of My Work, Laurence Sterne Trust 2013


    • The Continuing Tradition, David Paul, Gallery Chichester 1985
    • Other Worlds Exhibition Catalogue Bearnes, Torquay 1989
    • Graham Ovenden Monograph, Academy Editions 1987
    • The Ruralists Art & Design, Academy Editions 1991
    • “On The Spot”, Article by Roger Moss Create March 1993
    • The Other Alice, Christina Bjork Douglas & Mcintyre / Raben & Sjogren Books 1993
    • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction & Fantasy Art Techniques, John Grant & Ron Tiner, Titan Books / Running Press 1996
    • “Phantasmagoria – an Appreciation of Brian Partridge’s Work”, Pauline Stainer, Inkscape Magazine 2001
    • The Ruralists & Brian Partridge, Kimie Kusomoto Mischmasch, Japan 2006
    • Ancient Landscapes – Pastoral Visions Exhibition Catalogue, A C C Editions 2008
    • Living Next Door to Alice – the Postcard World of Brian Partridge, Picture Postcard Annual 2010

Having the Time of Her Life: Hajime Sawatari

It may seem a superficial thing to say, but modeling is hard work and photographing models is as well, especially if they are children. On the other hand, many little girls do enjoy getting their hair done, dressing up, playing make believe and generally showing off. Hajime Sawatari’s Alice is an excellent case in point and it happens to be the best example of the tableau I can think of.

Sawatari (沢渡朔) was born in Japan in 1940 and, pursuing his interests, graduated with a degree in photography in 1963. By 1966 he was a freelance photographer working mostly in the fashion industry. Over time, he became more and more entranced by the female form and began documenting his romance with an Italian woman named Nadia. The results of this work garnered Sawatari some critical acclaim. In 1973, he produced Alice which despite its exceptional production quality was not recognized publicly as a masterpiece, most likely because of the nudes of the 6 or 7-year-old girl contained within. Ironically, Sawatari produced a sequel to this work in 1979 called Alice from the Sea using the same model and that did win awards. The little girl, Samantha Gates, would later do other modeling and acting work: most notably (with her brother Stefan) Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album cover and the film The Water Babies.

It is hard to be sure, but it seems clear the artist was creating an homage to Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), not only because of the Alice motifs, but because he felt it important to show off this beautiful girl in her natural glory. There is also ample evidence that these photos were shot on various estates and other locations in England.  Whatever work difficulties there may have been, I think it fair to say that this little girl had the time of her life. This piece is a kind of swan song for Sawatari as he never did anything quite like it again. Over time he worked with nudes more and more, but they tended to be Japanese and older.

It was hard for me to choose only eight images and I have something to say about all of them. I expect to share some of the others in upcoming thematic posts. Every few pages of the book has an insert of Japanese text taken from the Alice stories to give context and mood to the images.

The artist played with scale by using miniatures as in this shot or over-sized props to create the opposite effect.


Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (1)

Sawatari plays around with twin imagery in a few shots using this Alice mannequin.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (2)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (2)

This image of embarking evokes the idea of a magical journey. The girl’s costume and the beautiful train remind me a lot of scenes involving The Hogwarts Express.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (3)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (3)

This is the only image in the book that is a two-page spread. Pip did a nice job cleaning it up so you could appreciate its full impact.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (4)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (4)

This is a wonderful juxtaposition of scale, perfectly suited for this fantasy.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (5)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (5)

Here, she is frolicking with Tweedledee and Tweedledum. There is another image like it in a wooded setting involving the King and Queen of Hearts.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (6)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (6)

This is one of several scenes involving the Tea Party and this is a good one showing the entire table setting and cast of characters.

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (7)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (7)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (8)

Hajime Sawatari – Alice (1973) (8)

[160227] Sawatari’s journal entries from this shoot have been transcribed and translated and will be used for a future post focusing on Gates.  -Ron

Wikipedia: Hajime Sawatari

Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy’

I’ve kind of been holding off on this one because it is one of my favorite albums ever and has one of my favorite covers as well.  The cover was designed by Aubrey Powell of the famous Hipgnosis graphic design firm, which created many now iconic album covers of the ’60s and ’70s. The image features what appears to be a multitude of nude children climbing toward the peak of a rocky hill but in fact there were only two models for the children, brother and sister Stefan and Samantha Gates, who were photographed multiple times over the course of ten days on site at Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.  The design was inspired by the finale of Arthur C. Clarke’s seminal sci-fi novel Childhood’s End, in which millions of naked children are taken en masse from earth by aliens. (Little known fact: Stanley Kubrick wanted to make a film of this book but couldn’t because the film rights were owned by someone else, so he opted to film another of Clarke’s novels instead, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Too bad–I would rather have seen Childhood’s End made into a movie, but alas it wasn’t to be.)

Both siblings look back on this experience with understandably mixed emotions, since the days were cold and rainy and the children were required to spend much of the time nude. Nevertheless, Stefan loved being naked anyway, as he points out in this article, and Samantha remarks in the same article on how nobody thought much of the children’s nudity back then, which underscores perfectly how attitudes have changed drastically in the last forty years.  However, because of the nudity the album was banned from parts of the US South for many years.  Stefan had later come to see the album cover art as a bit malign (Samantha disagreed) and had never listened to the album up until 2010, when he traveled back to the Giant’s Causeway to experience the album there and came away with a new appreciation for it and a changed perspective on the cover image.  Both children went on to careers in the media, Stefan as an actor and presenter on assorted cooking shows and Samantha as an actress.


Aubrey Powell – Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (full image)

Aubrey Powell - Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (front cover)

Aubrey Powell – Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (front cover)

Aubrey Powell - Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (back cover)

Aubrey Powell – Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (back cover)

The inner sleeve image depicts a nude man holding one of the children (probably Stefan, judging by the hair length) over his head, though the figures are seen at a distance against the backdrop of a castle.  This was in fact Dunluce Castle, which is very near the Giant’s Causeway.

Aubrey Powell - Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (interior)

Aubrey Powell – Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy (interior)

Samantha Gates in 'The Water Babies'

Samantha Gates in ‘The Water Babies’

Aubrey Powell (Official Site)

Wikipedia: Aubrey Powell (designer)

Led-Zeppelin (Official Site)

Wikipedia: Led Zeppelin


From Hugh Ziegler on April 13, 2012
Here we go — Houses of The Holy — at last!
This is what I get for being too busy to visit here in time.
I visited Aubrey Powell’s website — prints of his art work are available — but for $ 1,000 and up.
Okay — I love Samantha and Stefan, but that is a bit steep even for me.
Samantha got busy — I’ve read about Hajime Sawatari’s photographic adaption of “Alice In Wonderland” and an apparent sequel called “Alice from the Sea”. Worth a look?

From pipstarr72 on April 13, 2012
Yes, I finally put it up. From what I’ve seen of Sawatari’s book (on the web), it may well be worth the money. I suppose it depends on how serious a collector you are and how much money you have to play around with. I didn’t realize that was Samantha Gates portraying Alice; if it is (and it certainly does look like her), she was younger than she appears to be in film stills I’ve seen. I think the book was first published in 1973, the same year Houses of the Holy came out, which would mean she is fairly close to the same age on the album cover and in the book. That seems about right.

Chadwick Hall

Okay, another image scanned from the book 20th Century Photography.  Hopefully we’ll not have any issues with this one, since I had no problem finding it elsewhere on the Internet.  This is quite a peculiar image, even for the 1970s.  It seems Hall is trying to say something here, only I’m not quite sure what.

Edit: one of our readers pointed out that the girl in this image looks a great deal like Samantha Gates, who has appeared nude in other media, most notably on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album and in Hajime Sawatari’s Alice book.  I didn’t notice before, but on closer inspection, I have to agree that this is probably Miss Gates.  The time period is right, and that face is pretty distinct.  Excellent eye!

Chadwick Hall – Untitled (1976)


From Bill Tree on Septmeber 8, 2011
I think it’s all about the shoes.
Really, if it were about her contrasting innocence, she’d be barefoot. But the clodhoppers ground her firmly into the society of the men in the photo. In fact, with the boots on, from their viewpoint they’d never “know” she was nude (only the viewer would know).
If I were shooting it, she’d be barefoot, light, feminine, ephemeral youth.
So, since they’re there…it must be about the shoes…perhaps is was an ad for a 19th century shoemaker, who was playing on the fact that ankles were obscene.

From pipstarr72 on September 9, 2011
Ha ha! Yeah, I don’t think it’s a shoe ad. I do like your observation that from the p.o.v. of the men she could be fully clothed. What I was thinking was that the girl represented a reality that is completely removed from the world of these clearly very important men. The men see what they want to see; meanwhile, those of us facing the “issue” head on see it for what it is. In other words, it’s a comment about the nature of politicians and/or wealthy businessmen vs. average Joes. Or something.