Random Images: Arturo Checchi

(Last Updated On December 28, 2020)

There are a number of statues in the Piazza Italia in Perugia, Italy. The most famous is an equestrian bronze but below and little ways away there is a fountain with a lovely statue of a young girl. She appears very small in photos found on the internet because she is seldom the main focus of the square. One of our readers was kind enough to send some photos of the statue during a recent visit. He could not get close enough to it to make out the name of the sculptor so Patricia came to the rescue and identified him as Arturo Checchi (1886–1971).

Arturo Checchi – Bimba al sole (1935) (1)

Arturo Checchi – Bimba al sole (1935) (2)

Arturo Checchi – Bimba al sole (1935) (closeup)

Unfortunately, our photographer did not have exclusive access so the images are somewhat marred by the presence of other tourists, modern vehicles, etc.

Merry Christmas!

(Last Updated On December 22, 2020)

This is an unattributed photo in the Corbis collection and made into a postcard. This was Christian’s Christmas card to me this year. It is unknown whether the photo is just of unknown provenance or was staged to look like a period piece. The date is just a guess and the Corbis copyright says 2004. Sometimes photographers are hired for a commercial job and not credited so who knows.

Anonymous – Who’s Fooling Who? (c1960?)

Pigtails in Paint wishes all our readers a Merry Christmas!

Comparative Anatomy: Ladybird Books

(Last Updated On December 20, 2020)

In a discussion on contrivances, the subject of sex education (really just anatomy education) the subject of drawings versus photos was discussed. In the Will McBride book, photos were used but given that these are actual children, using their bodies in an illustrative text might be stigmatic and ethically questionable. The most obvious solution is to use realistic (and accurate) drawings. That way, the particular personality of the child would not be identified as some real person even if there was a life model originally. The amusing bit is that with the English-speaking world’s discomfort with frank presentations of the naked body, many books have become overly cartoonish, offering little useful detail. Ladybird Books was cited to by a number of readers as a good exception. Your Body was published in 1967 and a blogger (The Serendipity Project) took the trouble to scan its contents.

Robert Ayton – from Your Body (1967)

Interestingly, one of the other images in that book shows a family at the beach and guess what? The little girl is wearing no top! Yet another can of worms that has been discussed on this site regarding the convention of topless girl children on public beaches.

Random Images: Guy Peellaert

(Last Updated On December 20, 2020)

One of the most interesting leads from one of our readers the past few months was Belgian artist Guy Peellaert (1934–2008). According to our contributor, he is one of the unidentified artists in an earlier post but did not give specifics. Perhaps another reader will come forward with the details. In a sense, this post is almost an ‘Album Covers’ entry as many of the works were used in that capacity.

This and many others are part of a series of images published in Rolling Stones magazine. Perhaps most remarkable is a 1974 book Rock Dreams produced in collaboration with early Rock chronicler Nik Cohn, the Ulster-raised son of psychologist Norman Cohn. The impetus of these works is to create a series of farcical pictures that portray the what-might-have-been of famous personalities. One in particular is extremely edgy even for work of that genre. In fact, Pip apparently knew about it but was reluctant to post it because readers would not accept it as an expression of satire.

Guy Peelleart – from Rock Dreams [#14] (c1974)

The images from that book were lovingly scanned and posted in a blog (Diet) Coke and Sympathy. There was a reprint of the book but, in that version, the image was split by the unsightly crease of the binding. The author painstaking searched for the first edition so that we may have the pristine example shown above.

One of the nagging questions I have is: where did the models came from? The girls are lovingly rendered and realistic. I have the feeling that I have seen that girl at the piano in a photograph before (I believe in an Edwardian postcard). So maybe there’s a real expert out there who could help us out.

Random Images: Lady Ottoline Morrell et al

(Last Updated On December 19, 2020)

This lead is from Moko. He found some interesting photos of young girls in the British National Portrait Gallery while browsing. There are too many relevant examples to list here so you should take a look for yourself here. Worth noting are several nude photos of young girls by Lady Ottoline Morrell, including the photographer’s daughter Julian Morrell Vinogradoff. There is also a photo by an unknown photographer of the noted surgeon Dr. Ann Davies Synge and her friend, computer scientist Christopher Strachey, when they were both young children. What’s peculiar about this photo is that while Ann is fully nude, Christopher is fully dressed.

Artist Unknown – Ann Davies Synge (née Stephen); Christopher Strachey (1926)

A Roman Knucklebone Player

(Last Updated On December 17, 2020)

Ancient Greek and Roman art has a realistic quality that sets it apart from the art of other ancient civilizations. Some types of ancient art, such as Egyptian, were for the purpose of conveying information more than for aesthetics. Greeks artists strived for an idealized version of realism. Romans based their art on the Greek, but with an important difference. Romans were less concerned with idealizing their subjects. If a Roman model had a less than perfect face or figure, the artist portrayed reality, warts and all. Today it is popular to display classical statues as white marble. In antiquity the statues were painted, making them even more lifelike. Current technology allows us to detect tiny remnants of paint invisible to the naked eye, and computer programs can then be used to generate an image of the statue as it appeared when it was painted. As far as I know, this statue has never been computer-restored to its painted condition.

Anonymous -Knöchelspielendes Mädchen (circa130-150)

The Roman statue pictured here has been given the modern title Knöchelspielendes Mädchen (Girl Playing Knucklebones) by Altes Museum in Berlin, where the statue is now on display. It was found on the Caelian Hill in Rome, Italy. This statue was sculpted about AD 130-150, the period when Roman art was at its height. It is a copy of a Hellenistic Greek original. Knucklebone games were very popular with children, especially girls, in antiquity. Sources on the internet say that knucklebone games were similar to modern dice games or jacks. They don’t say what was used in place of the rubber needed for a game of jacks.

The girl wears a chiton that may not have been as clinging as shown in the statue. That was a convention of Greek art that was copied by the Romans. Her cornrow hair style was popular in ancient Rome, and may be even more popular in sculpture than in life, due to the ease of carving this style in marble.

Two more versions of the statue are shown below. The first, from the British Museum, shows a more mature girl with a different hair style. It is Roman, from the first or second centuries AD. The second is a French copy made of cast iron in about 1850.

Anonymous -Knucklebone Player (circa First – Second Century)

Anonymous – A Young Girl Playing Knucklebones (circa1850)

Most Roman art portrayed adults, political leaders, and deities. Statues of children are less common, and the relatively few that were made were less likely to be preserved. It seems strange now, but there was a time when Roman works of art were considered to be old junk rather than valuable antiques. Most bronze statues were melted down for scrap metal. Many marble statues were burned for lime. Buildings (such as the Coliseum before it was protected) were used as sources of building stone for new structures. We are fortunate that Knöchelspielendes Mädchen has survived.

Anatomy of a Fall: Graham Ovenden

(Last Updated On December 17, 2020)

When I wrote the original post of ‘Fall from Grace’, I was not privy to many of the details known to a few intimates of Graham’s. I have since gotten to know the man and his situation much better. With a better understanding of timelines and the motivations of the players involved, I have a much clearer picture. At the time, I did not want to risk saying something libelous that would make Pigtails in Paint appear to be nothing more than gutter journalism. Graham has quite obviously been the object of a frameup and Her Majesty’s courts, out of embarrassment over their own incompetence or an overly trusting attitude about law enforcement, have failed to vindicate the man.

This travesty is doubly sad now that Graham’s health is deteriorating rapidly and it is likely that he may never see the restitution due him. In addition, during the embezzlement of the equity in Barley Splatt there was also the theft of rare collectibles taken during a hospital stay which took place before his trial.

Charles Dodgson – (date unknown)

Fortunately, Graham had the presence of mind to take scans of many of these items in advance and so at least the images can be seen by the public. In the effort to expose these thefts to general scrutiny and perhaps some hope of discovering some items illegally offered on the secondary market, a special website has been hastily assembled. I urge those who want a deeper understanding of the intrigues of the case or routinely trawl the secondary market for collectibles to take a look using the link below.

Graham Ovenden: Notes on the Embezellment [sic] of Barley Splatt and the Theft of Major Collections

Maiden Voyages: December 2020

(Last Updated On December 3, 2020)

Most of you have noticed that things are winding down here at Pigtails. That does not mean that we have stopped responding to requests and leads. I do have a few that need to be posted. We still have a few surprises for you. Hope our American readers had a great Thanksgiving and best wishes to all for the coming Christmas holiday.

Maiden Voyages: November 2020

(Last Updated On November 5, 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: October 2020

(Last Updated On October 4, 2020)

My apologies for the lateness of this post. The simple fact is that running this blog and having a social-love-family life is not conducive to keeping up on the vagaries of the cult of the girl child. Fortunately, there have been a lot of wonderful leads from readers and there are a couple of guest articles pending. Also, as promised, there will be some reprints of Novel Activist articles. In addition, our internet host has archived Ray’s articles and images for the most part and is putting together a more complete archive. I will be doing my best to get these things posted (didn’t happen last month, obviously). Rest assured that I do still receive and read your comments and emails so if there are good leads, let me know. It is also still my intent to complete the ‘Artists by Name’ and other databases to be sure readers will have access to all our leads and can: 1) research on their own and 2) know if we missed something that should have been listed. There are also quite a few album covers still to present and at least two original items submitted by readers. Despite the decline in activity, it is still exciting to realize that we are coming up on our 10th anniversary and that is a proud accomplishment that demonstrates how the handling of our challenging subject matter might be be achieved.

Best wishes to all in the coming month and continue to use caution and be safe during these Coronavirus Contamination Protocols. -Ron, Editor-in-Chief