The original drawings of one of the most famous beards and other associated hairy bits, the illustrations for the 1972 bestseller The Joy of Sex, to be displayed for the first time at the Institute of Sexology exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, London.
Later editions of Alex Comfort’s “gourmet guide to lovemaking”, inspired by cookery books of the day, used photographs of a clean-shaven man, but the 1972 original had delicate line drawings and watercolours showing a bearded man, and a woman with pubic and underarm hair, enjoying sex in many positions. Despite being banned in many countries, including Ireland, and booksellers and librarians refusing to stock it in many states in the US, the book sold more than 10m copies.
The black-and-white line drawings by Chris Foss were based on photographs he took of a man he knew well: his colleague Charles Raymond, who was responsible for the colour illustrations. They had first tried using paid models, but found them too expensive and inflexible, so Raymond volunteered to pose for the photographs with his wife, Edeltraud. The couple later recalled it as extremely hard work, particularly since the strikes and power cuts of that year meant the lights could go out at any moment.
I think Ireland had the right idea.