Your cart
translation missing: en.general.icons.close_alt Icon


Pride and Pirates: Aargh!

Pride and Pirates: Aargh!

Photo of the Month: June 2022

A shaft of light? A tractor beam? Probably doesn’t matter to this young guy who surrenders with one hand and smokes with the other.

His back is against the brick wall. His shirt is AWOL. But his expression is coy, almost come-hither. All we know for sure is the date of the photo: June 1936. 

Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition

Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition: English Sea Rovers in the Seventeenth-Century Caribbean

A must-read for anyone interested in academic gay history and/or pirates.

The classic depiction of pirates: sword (or bottle of rum) in one hand, the other fondling a buxom wench, is a hetero-normative fantasy. So argues historian B.R. Burg’s scholarly examination of homosexuality on the high seas.  

Burg’s careful research proves that the “Golden Age of Piracy” (1650 to 1730) was an oasis of male to male sex and loving relationships. Most pirate officers had their “lads,” and the working crew had each other. In fact, it was pirate society that instituted “matelotage” where same sex partners would contract their assets to each other - a 17th century equivalent of gay marriage. 

Sidenote: Two Arrghs and a bag of doubloons to the creators of the hit HBO series “Our Flag Means Death” for not just reading this book, but having the balls to incorporate Burg’s research into the show.

Continue reading

Photo of the Month and Other News

Photo of the Month and Other News

Peter and I

Handsome, fully clothed Mr. Black Hat (is it Peter or I?) drapes an arm around his underwear-clad mate. Mr. Silly Hat nestles against his chest, rests a forearm on his leg, and grabs hold of two fingers. More than friendship, their intimate pose suggests union:  possession. They belong to each other.

Handwritten on verso: "Peter u. Ich 1957."

Stamped: Drogerie Eduard Schultz, Langendreer Denkmal. (The Headless War Memorial in Langendreer is an interesting story in itself).

4” x 3” gloss print on Agfa Brovira paper, Germany, dated 1957.

Maitland’s Vintage Gay Books Newsletter

Her prose outshines that of the gay pulp novels she reviews. But with style, a touch of cynicism, and a sly sense of humor, Maitland McDonagh reveals a surprising amount of depth in books generally prized only for their covers. 

Take this example from her post on Vampire’s Kiss.

vampire's kiss vintage gay pulp novel 

If only Damon could silence the mean-spirited subconscious that keeps telling him he hates absolutely everything about the life he was barely living before he hopped into bed with a member of the queer undead.

Think of her blog posts as the Cliff Notes of gay pulps. Yes, she actually reads them so you don’t have to! But her reviews are not to be missed. 

The Pine Walk Collection

Recently found in a house on Pine Walk, there are over 200 cassette tapes of DJ sets from Fire Island Pines and New York City (1979-1999). Digitized, remastered and offered to stream for free on Mixcloud with permission from all of the living DJs they were able to contact. 

The New York Times notes: “More than a catalog, the tapes are the soundtrack to a critical juncture in gay history as the AIDS crisis emerged and a new generation of activists fought for their rights and survival.”

Continue reading

The Gloria Gross Archive of 70's Men's Fashion Photos

The Gloria Gross Archive of 70's Men's Fashion Photos

This collection of vintage 70's fashion photos was acquired from the estate of South African-born Gloria Gross. Gloria was a fashion designer, book illustrator and graphic artist. In 1965 she arrived in London, at the time a magnet attracting talent from around the world.

Design work in the UK, Europe and Japan built her reputation. In the early 1970’s she was designing clothing for men including international celebrities Sean Connery, Sammy Davis Jr., Marcello Mastroianni, Marcel Marceau and Tiny Tim. Her most influential and memorable designs were for legendary singer Tom Jones.

Along with the other designers featured in this collection, Gloria was part of the “new school” of fashion that began in the late 60s (as distinguished from the “old” classic fashion like Dior and Chanel). The focus: “wearable” clothes. The emphasis: simplicity and minimalism.

The new school designers glorified the tall, lean figure. Turtlenecks, slim-fitting shirts and jackets, capes and tight-fitting flared pants all contributed to the silhouette. Long hair was ubiquitous.

Impacted by the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation movements, the other hot trend of 70s men’s fashion was a more gender-neutral expression.  

To understand how revolutionary this was, consider the historical context. After WWII men returned from military service anxious to fit in, to be identified with the establishment.

In the 1950s, the age of conformity, individual style was almost exclusively the domain of women’s wear. For men, fashion consisted of a gray flannel suit, white button-down shirt, skinny tie and hat. The 60's changed all that, and the 1970's took it to new levels.

Besides Gloria, the designers in this collection are all European: Bert Zuiderveen, Haarlem; Massimo Datti, Rome; Miguel Diaz, Barcelona; Ruben Torres, Paris; and Christopher Franck, Denmark. Photographers are Jurgen Kriewald and Erik Skriver.

Most of the photos were part of a 1972 show organized by the International Institute for Cotton and include credits and descriptions taped to the verso. They’re all black and white, ranging in size from 7 1/2" x 9 1/4" to 9 1/2" x 11 ¾."

See the collection.

Continue reading

Auction Highlights: Rago, 16 February 2022

Among the listings for the upcoming auction: "Property from the Collection of Seymour Stein" we found these gems by George Tooker, Hernan Bas, René Lalique and Stephen Tennant.

George Tooker 1920–2011
Sleep, 1964
tempera on board
estimate: $60,000–80,000

gay art

Hernan Bas b.1978
Bait, 2003
watercolor, gouache, acrylic and pencil on paper
estimate: $10,000–15,000

gay art

René Lalique
Athlètes panel, model C
France, c. 1928-30
molded glass, metal frame
estimate: $40,000–60,000

and this slightly more affordable watercolor...

gay art

Stephen Tennant 1906–1987
Egyptian Sailors; Lascar (two works), 1939
ink and watercolor on paper
estimate: $1,000–1,500

Continue reading

Cain of London: Sale of Gay and Leather Fetish Photos

Cain of London: Sale of Gay and Leather Fetish Photos

On November 18, 2021 a large collection of prints, contact prints, negatives and ephemera from the estate of Anthony Clifford Burls (AKA Cain of London) was sold by Dominic Winter Auctioneers for £6,000.

Not so well known on this side of the Atlantic, Cain photographed shirtless fairground workers, footballers and guys in leather, often on motorcycles. Most of the photos were taken in the late 1960s and early 70s.

Continue reading

Ed Theriault, Vintage Physique Photo by Russ Warner

Ed Theriault, Vintage Physique Photo by Russ Warner

Dramatic vintage photo of the amazing Ed Theriault, by Russ Warner c. 1952. 

Theriault packed a huge amount of muscle onto his 5'-1," 132 lb. frame. He was known for combining bodybuilding with gymnastics and hand balancing.

In "Your Physique" magazine he was described as "the most perfectly developed man of his size in the world." He humbly responded: "I'm proud to accept such acclaim although I feel I don't deserve such a unique distinction." He died in 2003, age 84.

Sepia print with gloss finish, 7 1/2" x 7 1/4," with studio stamp on verso.

Very good condition overall but there are a number of corner bends and some white dots. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions regarding condition.

Looking at the notes on the verso, this photo was sent to the printer along with instructions. "April MP, p. 24, duotone..." 

1947, Canada's Most Perfect Physique - IFBB, Most Muscular, 1st

1948, Mr Eastern North America - IFBB, Short, 1st

1949, Canada's Most Perfect Physique - IFBB, Winner

1950, Best Developed Athlete in America - IFBB, Short, 1st

1959, Universe - IFBB, Short, 1st 


Continue reading

Queer Eye for Caravaggio

Queer Eye for Caravaggio

The only known Caravaggio ceiling painting, it spans a small room (approximately 30 square feet) in Villa Aurora in Rome. The mural represents three gods, -- Jupiter with his eagle, Neptune with his seahorse, and Pluto with his three-headed dog Cerberus -- gathered around a translucent sphere.

It was commissioned by cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte in 1597, who used the room as an alchemical laboratory.

It's an astonishing work of art in many ways, but there's one detail that stands out to the queer viewer. Pluto has a healthy patch of pubic hair above his dick. Which is to say, he has a "dick," not a "penis." And seen from below it's almost as if the viewer is on his knees looking up at it.

Maybe not surprising that Caravaggio represents Pluto, god of the underworld, with genitals exposed.

caravaggio ceiling mural detail

Continue reading

Stan of Sweden

Stan of Sweden

Little documentation exists about the physique photographer known as “Stan of Sweden.” Universal Hunks by David L. Chapman notes that Stan was a bodybuilder and photographer in Gothenburg, Sweden in the 1960s. Recognized for non-nudes, his photos include many competition shots that appear in traditional bodybuilding magazines of the period.

The best overview of his work is the Vol. 3, #3 (Winter 1966) issue of The Vikings. The majority of his photos were published in the early to mid-1960s. One of the earliest print references is from Tomorrow's Man, Feb. 1962. 

Of course he issued photographic catalog sheets, of which we have a few examples on the Homobilia site. His models are mostly Swedish or Scandinavian and include not just physique models but what might have been considered “trade” or as the French would say, “mecs.” 

He did like to assign pithy little labels like “Hans The Defined,” or “Niels That Nature Boy.” Perhaps the most well-known model he photographed was the incomparable Serge Nubret. His “Art Experiments” catalogs offer dramatically lit, close-up studio shots which reveal a different sort of Stan (not least in that they feature nudes). 

Besides posing trunks, there’s an emphasis on tight jeans and leather accessories. Props including swords, guns and ice hooks show up occasionally. Studio backgrounds tend to be stark white though there were also a substantial number of outdoor photo sessions. There are a few examples of two models posing together.

There are two different studio stamps: the basic “STAN” stamp and the larger “Gothenburg” stamp.

Stan of Sweden small ogo 

Stan of Sweden large logo

Here's a rare signed letter from Stan to one of his customers, a Mr. Burts, in the U.K.

Stan of Sweden vintage photographer letter to customer



Continue reading

Rare Cross Dressing Photo Album at Swann

Rare Cross Dressing Photo Album at Swann

A rare album with over 150 photos of male cross dressers in exquisite outfits including evening gowns and a wedding dress, was sold as part of Swann Galleries' LGBTQ sale (08/19/21). The price realized was $11,250.

The photos are artfully composed and set in an elegant apartment. They span over a decade from 1930 to 1941. The number of sittings,  combinations of poses, and attention to detail convey the joy and care with which each photo was created.

Continue reading

Royale and Hussar Photos Sold in London

Royale and Hussar Photos Sold in London

An archive of homoerotic photographs from the 1950s-1960s at Bonham's "The Male Form" sale fetched £ 22,750 (US$ 30,952) on June 16th. It included over 850 silver gelatin prints.

Basil Clavering, owner of the successful Gala-Royale cinema chain, built a studio in the basement of his Pimlico home with his friend John Charles Parkhurst. Both had served in the Navy, and they paid military men around the Hyde Park and Chelsea barracks to model.

The studio operated under two names: Royale and Hussar. They sold the photographs by mail order.

The images are erotically charged although there's no frontal nudity. Models were often in groups, and scenarios involve uniforms, military and naval discipline, wrestling, and bondage.
Royale and Hussar vintage gay photo

Continue reading