Rare candid photographs showing Profumo scandal model Christine Keeler posing topless and frolicking in a field on the day she was released from prison go up for auction
- Rarely seen photographs of Christine Keeler have emerged for sale at auction
- The model had an affair with former war minister John Profumo in early sixties
- One black-and-white snap, taken in 1960, shows Christine posing topless
- Others were taken on the day the model was released from prison in 1964
Rarely-seen photos of Christine Keeler posing topless and giggling in the grass have emerged for sale at auction.
The former model found notoriety after her explosive affair with the then British secretary of state for war John Profumo during the early sixties, was exposed and ultimately helped to bring down Harold Macmillan’s Tory government.
The three black and white snaps include one of the famous sixties’ model posing without a top on with her arms crossed to cover her modesty, which was taken by an unknown photographer in 1960.
Meanwhile two other images show the model on the day she was released from prison in 1964 after serving a jail sentence for perjury.
The sale takes place on December 15, with images expected to fetch £800.
Rarely-seen photos of Profumo scandal model Christine Keeler posing topless and giggling in the grass have emerged for sale at auction
A 22-year-old Keeler is captured smiling for the camera lying in a grassy field wearing a sleeveless dress and high heels.
The 1963 Profumo affair caused a security furore at the height of the Cold War and led to the downfall of everyone involved, including society osteopath Stephen Ward, who killed himself after being convicted of living off immoral earnings.
Keeler herself was denounced as a ‘tart’ and moral deviant in a Britain yet to undergo the sexual revolution, and this reputation would haunt her for the rest of her life.
She was famously jailed for perjury in December 1963, several months after Profumo had resigned over the scandal.
Meanwhile two of the images show the model on the day she was released from prison in 1964 after serving a jail sentence for perjury
Keeler gave false evidence during the trial for her former partner Lucky Gordon, who she claimed had attacked her. He was convicted and jailed for three years.
However, it later turned out she had lied to the court and she was sentenced to nine months in prison.
She served half of her sentence and upon her release met up with photographer Ray Bellisario.
Earlier this year,a a six-part BBC drama, The Trial of Christine Keeler, advanced the theory that she was herself a victim, a girl from a difficult background who had been brought up in a converted railway carriage – a young woman swept up in a world she didn’t understand. Predatory men simply took advantage of her vulnerability, it suggests.
In one snap, a 22-year-old Keeler is captured smiling for the camera lying in a grassy field wearing a sleeveless dress and high heels
Keeler, who died aged 75 in 2017, had always insisted she was a victim of ‘the Establishment’.
The prints of her are two of just ten photos to be taken that day and are incredibly desirable to collectors.
Both are black-and-white and are hand-signed by Keeler.
They have been owned by an anonymous collector since 2013 but are now set to go under the hammer.
The rarely before seen photographs are expected to fetch up to £800 at auction when they go on sale in December
The framed 19ins by 18.5ins black-and-white ‘topless’ print belongs to photographic collector James Birch.
It is also expected to sell for £800 with auctioneers Sworders of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.
A spokesman for the auction house said: ‘The name Christine Keeler still resonates today.
‘The BBC six-part drama, The Trials of Christine Keeler, shown earlier this year was just one of many recent film and TV productions about her life.
‘There are three photos one of three in the sale, two of which were taken on her first day out of prison in 1964.’
Who was Christine Keeler and what was the Profumo affair?
Born in Middlesex, Christine Keeler moved to London as a teenager and began working at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho.
It was there she met Dr Stephen Ward, a high-flying London osteopath and fixer who ‘procured women’ for leading members of the Establishment, who introduced her to Conservative Minister John Profumo while at a party thrown by Lord and Lady Astor in 1961.
The pair hit the headlines after seven shots were fired at Ward’s house in a quiet Marylebone mews by a jilted boyfriend of Keeler a year later in December 1962.
Ms Keeler’s other lovers have included A-Team actor George Peppard, legendary womaniser Warren Beatty and Prisoner of Zenda star Douglas Fairbanks Jr
Ms Keeler, pictured, met Conservative minister Profumo – 27 years her senior – after leaving her home in Middlesex and working at Murray’s Cabaret Club in Soho
Ms Keeler, pictured right, in a vehicle with her friend Mandy Rice-Davies, who was also implicated in the scandal surrounding the affair
It emerged the then 19-year-old Keeler had been sleeping with former Secretary of State for War John Profumo, then 48, and at the same time a handsome Russian spy Evgeny Ivanov.
But when the news broke, Profumo lied to the House of Commons about his affair. He was soon found out and Keeler sold her story to the News of The World for £23,000.
In June 1963, he quit in disgrace, amid allegations Keeler had been asked by Ivanov to discover from the War Minister when the West Germans might receive U.S. nuclear missiles to be stationed on their soil.
Profumo had been a rising star of the Tory Party, close to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a favoured visitor at Buckingham Palace, a war hero and the dashing husband of actress Valerie Hobson, one of the great beauties of her day.
Ms Keeler, whose other lovers have included A-Team actor George Peppard, legendary womaniser Warren Beatty and Prisoner of Zenda star Douglas Fairbanks Jr, said in an interview years later that the Establishment was far more interested in painting it as a sex scandal and chose to ignore whispered claims of a widespread spying network.
Christine died aged 75 in December 2017.
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