Wednesday, November 30, 2005

In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War.


David Reynolds has written In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War. (Random House.)

The following are extracts from a review by Henrik Bering at Hoover Institution: Policy Review, December 2005.

Of particular interest is the stuff Churchill left out, which, not surprisingly, tends to show him in a less than flattering light. Thus, missing from Their Finest Hour are cabinet discussions at the time of Dunkirk about a negotiated peace using Mussolini as a go-between. Pressured by his foreign minister, Lord Halifax, Churchill at one point seemed to be willing to consider conceding Malta or Gibraltar or some African colonies if an accommodation with Hitler could be reached. This, of course, does not quite square with our image of him as the bedrock of anti-Nazi fortitude.

Despite his public stance of imperturbability, privately Churchill was less than certain of the outcome. At one point he worried aloud to General Ismay that they “probably would be dead in three months time.” But he also realized that Britain was in a very poor bargaining position and that even the hint of using Mussolini would be terrible for morale. “One cannot easily make a bargain at the last gasp. Once we started the friendly mediation of the Duce, we should destroy our power for fighting on.” The whole idea was quickly dropped. But we should not let this glimpse of a less confident Churchill diminish him, Reynolds cautions. Instead of “the almost blindly pugnacious bulldog of popular stereotype,” we should see him as a normal human being, subject to normal fears. What mattered was that he was capable of overcoming his private doubts to project utter confidence...

Churchill’s weaknesses as a commander-in-chief are well known. Always an admirer of military dash — he had been a cavalry officer, after all — Churchill had little patience for humdrum but rather necessary things like logistics...

There are occasional problems of emphasis in the later volumes, giving them a somewhat parochial perspective, and sometimes amounting to an outright distortion of the historical record. In volume four, The Hinge of Fate, Reynolds notes, Churchill depicted the battles of Midway and El Alamein as the hinges of the war while giving Stalingrad short shrift (a mere four pages). Alamein was certainly important for the Brits — “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat,” Churchill wrote — but its significance does tend to pale in comparison with Stalingrad. According to figures supplied by Reynolds, half a million Russians died in Stalingrad, and the Red Army killed 150,000 Germans and captured 91,000. At El Alamein the British 8th Army lost 13,500 men and took 30,000 Germans prisoner. The neglect of Stalingrad is no doubt explained by the Cold War — The Hinge of Fate was published at the time of the Korean War — which understandably was not the moment to be praising the Russians.

On the vital topic of Overlord, the allied invasion of France, Churchill particularly wanted to prove that he had not been opposed to it, as certain factions in the United States alleged. But, says Reynolds, he did not make a particularly good job of it. Though he had always paid lip service to Overlord as the keystone of Anglo-American cooperation, he saw as a fatal error the 1943 failure to exploit the Italian collapse by grabbing the Aegean islands and persuading Turkey to enter the war. Churchill’s problem with Overlord was not that he doubted the Allies could land in France; he worried what might occur between days 30 and 60 after the landings.

Accordingly, he forwarded to Stalin a telegram he had received from Eisenhower’s headquarters. Three-fourths of the telegram, composed by General Harold Alexander, contained an exceedingly gloomy assessment of the Italian situatuion following German reinforcements, making a cross-Channel invasion impracticable. But Churchill deliberately omitted a fourth section, written by Eisenhower himself, containing a much more optimistic view of the future and of Overlord’s chances. In what Reynolds considers “one of the most blatant distortions of the memoirs,” Churchill included in Closing the Ring the pessimistic portion of the cable, but again excluded Ike’s more optimistic view.

Having been forced to commit to Overlord, Churchill had at least arranged for it not to have a British commander. In a draft version that did not appear in the final work, he wrote: “I had the fear that if a bloody and disastrous repulse were encountered, far bigger than the first day on the Somme in 1916, there might be an outcry in the United States, it would be said that another result would have attended the appointment of an American general.”

...One of Churchill’s aims in Triumph and Tragedy was to pin the responsibility for Yalta and its aftermath on the Americans — though letting Roosevelt off easy on the grounds that the president had been dying at Yalta. And on the final race toward Berlin he blamed the U.S. generals for thinking in purely military terms and for ceding Berlin to the Soviets. But he could not criticize Eisenhower too directly, since Ike was now in the White House and Churchill did not want to damage the special relationship. Thus the line “Berlin, Prague and Vienna were needlessly yielded to the Soviets: Here may be discerned the tragedy of our triumph” ended up on the cutting room floor. But that was how he felt.

Trying to reduce tensions with the new Soviet leadership made him go easy on Stalin and shift blame for Soviet behavior onto shadowy “men behind him” and to the marshals. This is of course nonsense; Stalin had always been calling the shots in Moscow.


Baden-Powell and boy scouts

Boy Scouts 'get caught' bathing near Point Edward, Ontario, 1911 (

Scouting was founded on 1 August 1907, the day of the opening of Robert Baden-Powell's camp on Brownsea Island in England.

Today, there are more than 28 million Scouts, youth and adults, boys and girls, in 216 countries and territories. There are 6 countries without Scouts.

Indonesia has 8,909,435 scouts. The USA has 6,239,435. India has 2,138,015. The Philippines has 1,956,131. The United Kingdom has 498,888.


The following is taken from: Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell

On his interest in boys:

Two modern biographers of Baden-Powell consider him to have been a repressed homosexual, Michael Rosenthal of Columbia University and Tim Jeal. Tim Jeal's work, researched over the span of five years, was published by Yale University Press and well reviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post and other publications of record.

Along with many other pieces of evidence for his contention, Jeal mentions as illustrative an episode which ocurred in November of 1919. While on a visit to Charterhouse, his old public school, he stayed with an old friend, A. H. Tod, a bachelor teacher and housemaster who had taken large numbers of nude photographs of his pupils as part of a photographic record of public school life. Baden-Powell's diary entry about his stay reads: "Stayed with Tod. Tod's photos of naked boys and trees. Excellent."

In a subsequent communication to Tod regarding starting up a Scout troop at the school, Baden-Powell mentions his impending return visit and adds: "Possibly I might get a further look at those wonderful photographs of yours."

Tod's pictures of nude boys survived until the 1960's, when they were destroyed in order to "protect Tod's reputation." We are told, however (by R. Jenkyns), that the album contained nude boys in poses which were "contrived and artificial." Though today such a thing may raise suspicions, seen in the light of those days these would not have been at all unusual. We have no reason to suspect that Tod's relations were anything but chaste, and his pictures were rather in keeping with the contemporary tradition of male homoerotic art exemplified by Henry Scott Tuke's paintings, Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden's photography, and others.

Jeal also mentions that Baden-Powell ". . . consistently praised the male body when naked and denigrated the female. At Gilwell Park, the Scouts' camping ground in Epping Forest, he always enjoyed watching the boys swimming naked, and would sometimes chat with them after they had just 'stripped off.'" (Personal communications between Jeal and old scouts)

Despite his appreciation for the beauty of young boys, Baden-Powell seems never to have acted on his suspected attraction with any of the boys, and was adamant about the need to restrain the sexual impulse, especially in his communications with boys. He incorporated a graphic prohibition against masturbation in early scouting manuals (so graphic that Cox, his printer, refused to run the presses till the mention was watered down), and into his eighties carried on correspondences with individual scouts exhorting them to control their urge for "self-abuse." He subscribed to the commonly held turn-of-the-century opinion that the practice led to disease, madness and sexual impotence. His views were not shared by all. Dr. F. W. W. Griffin, editor of The Scouter, wrote in 1930 in a book for Rover Scouts that the temptation to masturbate was "a quite natural stage of development" and steered scouts to a text by H. Havelock Ellis that held that "the effort to achieve complete abstinence was a very serious error." (Tim Jeal, Baden-Powell: Founder of the Boy Scouts 1989, pp. 93-94)


At glbtq, Geoffrey W. Bateman wrote about Powell:,2.html

Baden-Powell's Sexuality:

In recent years, Baden-Powell's sexuality has come under increasing scrutiny. Even though he married Olave Soames in 1912, at the age of 55, many biographers have speculated that his lifelong friendship with Kenneth McLaren may have been sexual. At the very least, it is clear that Baden-Powell's relationship with McLaren was one of the most important emotional connections of his life.

Interestingly, Baden-Powell's relationship with his wife, who was considerably younger than he, may not have been sexual. Indeed, it tended to duplicate his relationships with male comrades and boys. She altered her appearance to suit him, flattening her breasts and shearing her hair. As Jeal remarks, "With every hint of sex removed from a relationship he could get on reasonably well with women."

It is difficult to know for certain the intricacies of Baden-Powell's sexual orientation. But after considering all available evidence on the matter, Jeal concludes that even if he never acted on any homosexual impulses, "Baden-Powell was a repressed homosexual."

Jeal's conclusion may or may not withstand scrutiny, but his discussion emphasizes an important undercurrent to Baden-Powell's life. He intensely identified with and enjoyed all-male culture and the activities that accompanied it. Whether this interest was simply an extension of a Victorian sensibility toward male friendship or a latent indication of homosexuality, we may never know.

Yet considering Baden-Powell's central role in creating the Boy Scouts and the current debate on gays in the Boy Scouts of America, our inability to confirm his orientation certainly challenges the American organization's belief that gay men have no place in the scouting movement. (Tellingly, the British, Canadian, Australian, and European chapters of the Boy Scouts do not ban homosexual participation.)

For his services to the nation and to international scouting, Baden-Powell was knighted in 1909 and created a baron in 1929. In 1938, he returned to Africa, where he died on January 8, 1941.

More images:


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Napoleon - the first fascist in modern European history.

Napoleon ordered thousands of prisoners to be killed with the bayonet.

In 1799 Napoleon was in the Middle east. He took 2,000 prisoners in Gaza. At Jaffa 3,000 defenders surrendered to the French on condition that their lives would be spared.

Once in possession of Jaffa, Napoleon ordered the execution of all the prisoners from Jaffa and most of those from Gaza.

To save bullets and gunpowder, Napoleon ordered his men to bayonet or drown the prisoners. There were reports of soldiers wading out to sea to finish off terrified women and children.

Bresler, Fenton. Napoleon III: A Life.
New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1999. ISBN 0-7867-0660-0 (pp. 235-245).
Dale, Rodney. The Tumour in the Whale.
London: Duckworth, 1978. ISBN 0-7156-1314-6 (p. 36).
McLynn, Frank. Napoleon: A Biography.
New York: Arcade Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-55970-631-7 (p. 189).

The Telegraph refers to Claude Ribbe's new book on Napoleon:

Napoleon's genocide 'on a par with Hitler'

By Colin Randall in Paris(Filed: 26/11/2005)

A French historian has caused uproar by claiming Napoleon provided the model for Hitler's Final Solution with the slaughter of more than 100,000 Caribbean slaves.

In The Crime of Napoleon, Claude Ribbe accuses the emperor of genocide, gassing rebellious blacks more than a century before the Nazis' extermination of the Jews.

His accusations refer to the extreme methods used to put down a ferocious uprising in Haiti at the start of the 19th century. Then known as San Domingo, the colony was considered a jewel of the French empire and to save it troops launched a campaign to kill all blacks aged over 12.

"In simple terms, Napoleon ordered the killing of as many blacks as possible in Haiti and Guadeloupe to be replaced by new, docile slaves from Africa," Ribbe said yesterday.

He said he had found accounts from officers who refused to take part in the massacres, especially the use of sulphur dioxide to kill slaves held in ships' holds.

His book is already provoking controversy prior to its publication on Thursday. The newspaper France Soir juxtaposed images of Napoleon and Hitler yesterday before asking: "Did Napoleon invent the Final Solution?"

From the site of John Ray

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE: The first Fascist of modern history

Napoleon Bonaparte was the child and heir of the very first Leftist revolution, the French revolution, and he is to this day lauded as the man who took the "ideals" of the French revolution to the rest of Europe. Like all Leftist dictators, he preached the central Leftist myth of equality -- but did not practice it -- and built up around himself a cult of the leader that was very much the same as that built up around themselves by Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung etc.

And, again like other Fascists, he took French nationalism and love of gloire to new heights. During his rule -- police state though it was -- he made the French feel that they were the greatest nation on earth. And the French died in their droves in furtherance of that myth -- just as Germans later died in their droves for Hitler. Mussolini may have invented the term but it was really Napoleon who was the first Fascist in modern European history.


Napoleon..... Hitler...... the American military?



Smoosh are two sisters from Seattle who are ten and twelve years old. Their names are Asya and Chloe. Their album was The Village Voice's #1 most overlooked record of 2004.

When the members of Smoosh were told they could be bigger than Led Zeppelin, they said: 'Is that big?',11710,1636684,00.html

She Like Electric is no sickly novelty. Instead, it's a collection of sparse, exhilaratingly skewed pop songs, powered by Asya's high, slurred vocals, untutored electric-piano playing and her sister's booming drums. You occasionally catch the hint of an influence - a snatch of Tori Amos on the exquisitely melancholy It's Cold, a trace of hip-hop on Rad and the frantic Bottlenose - but most of it sounds like nothing else.,11710,1636684,00.html

Smoosh is a Seattle-based band that has been opening for Pearl Jam, Sleater-Kinney and Death Cab for Cutie. Now they're promoting their first album, She Like Electric, but they try not to let the hectic schedule interrupt their day jobs - as elementary and junior high students.

Songs from Smoosh

Smoosh..........Massive Cure (from She Like Electric)


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Da Vinci, Buccleuch, Hess, Oscar Wilde

A £30 million Da Vinci painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland in 2003. The castle is home to the Duke of Buccleuch (The title of Duke of Buccleuch was created in 1663 for James Crofts the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II of England, who had married Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch.)

Two men posing as visitors overpowered a female member of staff and escaped with the painting.

The white Volkswagen Golf GTI used by the gang in their escape was found abandoned in woods near the castle.

Police released descriptions of two men seen near the castle.

One was in his early 40s, 5ft 10in, clean shaven and of slim build.

He was wearing brown shoes, cream trousers with a black belt, a cream T-shirt, a brown Nubuck leather jacket...

The other was in his late 40s, 5ft 10-11in, of slim build and clean shaven.

He was wearing black trousers, black shoes, a cream long-sleeved shirt, a sleeveless taupe safari-type jacket and a light cream wide-brimmed hat.

Could they be upper class gentlemen who are familiar with the castle and the local area?


The Duke of Buccleuch, Prince George Duke of kent, MI6 and the Nazis

The Duke of Buccleuch and Prince George, Duke of Kent, were allegedly involved in a plot with Rudolf Hess and MI6.

In 1941 there was a large 'peace party' in Britain which allegedly included many aristocrats such as the Duke of Buccleuch, many MPs, many members of the security services and members of the Royal Family.

The 'peace party' wanted to do a deal with Hitler. Some members of the 'peace party' admired the Nazis; some did not. Prince George, Duke of Kent, was reportedly a member of the group that wanted peace.

Lynn Picknett writes: "in 1942 the Duke of Kent was acting as political advisor for George VI... It wasn’t so much that he was pro-Nazi or sucking up to Hitler; he was simply pro-peace.'

Double Standards: The Rudolf Hess Cover-up' by Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince & Stephen Prior argues that:

1. Hess flew to Scotland in 1941 with Hitler's blessing.

2. Hess was to meet with a faction of British royalty and the aristocracy who wanted to arrange peace between Britain and Nazi Germany.

Hess is reported to have landed at the Duke of Hamilton's home at Dungavel House.

According to one account, 'two Czech Hurricane pilots who intercepted a lone Messerschmitt heading towards the'Firth of Clyde on the evening of May 10 were told not to attack it...

'A member of the Womens Auxiliary air Force, stationed that night at Dungavel House, remembers the landing lights on the Duke's private airstrip being on, shortly before Hess's plane crashed, despite blackout regulations.'

The Duke of Kent was said to have been at Dungavel, waiting for Hess. The Duke of Kent was involved in a motoring accident with a coal lorry the next morning not far from Dungavel House. His passenger was the Duke of Buccleuch, 'well known for his anti-war, pro-German sentiments prior to 1939'.

According to 'Double Standards: The Rudolf Hess Cover-Up':

1. Churchill and his faction got to Hess first when his plane landed and locked him up, even though Hess had been guaranteed safe passage by King George VI.

2. It is possible that the Duke of Kent rescued Hess and tried to fly to Sweden to continue secret peace negotiations.

3. The Duke's plane crashed approximately two miles from where Hess was kept on the shores of Loch More. Hess may have died in the plane crash. The plane crash may not have been accidental.To many members of the 'peace party', the real enemy was the Soviet Union. They wanted Hitler to wage war on Stalin.

The Duke of Buccleuch was put under virtual "house arrest" for the remainder of the war.

Clive Prince writes: 'Churchill was in a very, very insecure position politically in May 1941. In fact, three days before Hess arrived, there had been a vote of no-confidence in Churchill. He didn’t have the support of the aristocracy or the support of MI6 and the King. But the Hess affair basically gave Churchill the opportunity to blackmail his opponents who were involved with the Hess flight into supporting him...

"He also used the Hess flight to ensure that Hitler went ahead with his attack on Russia six weeks after Hess arrived...."

"We’re certain that MI6 was totally involved in the Hess affair - they weren’t luring him over: they were inviting him over. This was because MI6 were supportive of the idea of ending the War with Germany. MI6 saw the real enemy as being Russia. Sir Stuart Menzies - the head of MI6 - advised Churchill to stay out of things and let the Nazis and the Russians get on with it.."


The Da Vinci painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle.

A new biography of Oscar Wilde claims that Wilde's trial and imprisonment was a cover up for a gay affair between the Prime Minister, the Earl of Rosebery, and Viscount Drumlanrig.

The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, by Neil McKenna, suggests that the prime minister, the Earl of Rosebery, had a gay relationship for over two years with Viscount Drumlanrig, the older brother of Wilde’s own lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.

McKenna told the Sunday Times that, “Oscar was sacrificed to save Rosebery and the Liberals.”

The book says that the Marquess of Queensbury, the father of Drumlanrig and Douglas, was so furious that both his sons were gay that he threatened to reveal the PM’s own homosexuality.

Wilde’s trial was rushed through in order to “buy off” Queensbury and save the PM’s reputation, although Queensbury later called him “a Jew nancy boy” and “that bloody bugger”.

The book also suggests that the relationship between Rosebery and Drumlanrig was instrumental to Drumlanrig being made the PM`s private secretary and eventually a Lord.

The Sunday Times quotes Philip Hoare, who has himself written a biography on Wilde, as saying that McKenna’s theory was realistic, as he believed Wilde had been a political pawn. “The Liberals saw Wilde, as it were, taking all this decadence to the suburbs. They needed to stop it.” It also mentions Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland opinion that “Queensbury had lost one son to this ‘unmentionable vice’ and didn’t want another lost.”



Italy : Art

Waterhouse - At Capri

Theodore Robinson - Capri

Louis-Hector Leroux - At Virgil's Tomb

Alma Tadema

Moran : Venice

Manet: The Grand Canal

Monument of Bartolommeo Colleoni, Venice,

Martin Rico y Ortega (1833-1908)A Venetian Afternoon
Venetian Fisherman with a Distant View of San Marco, Venice



Walter Launt Palmer







Filippino Lippi in the Art Renewal Center

Il Sodoma in the Art Renewal Center

Palladio Centre and Museum

Carlo Maratta in the Art Renewal Center

Gemito Vincenzo

David Roberts in the Art Renewal Center





Saturday, November 19, 2005

Download Billy Elliot (Liam)

Liam - Electricity - Children In Need REAL MEDIA FORMAT Download 6Mins 34secs (10.7MB)

MPEG FORMAT (Much slower to download but better quality)
Liam - Electricity - Children In Need Pt 1 (singing) Download 2Mins 49secs (28.1MB)
Liam - Electricity - Children In Need Pt 2 (dancing) Download 3Mins 43secs (37MB)

Substance abuse
Child prostitution
children at risk of offending
Sexual abuse
Illness and HIV
low achievement amongst ethnic minority communities

£719,689 of the money raised in last year's appeal was awarded to 21 organisations that provide help, support and advice to children affected by bullying.

Last year, BBC Children in Need gave £33,000 to Kidscape, an organisation that works to prevent bullying. Our grant paid for children who've been severely bullied to go on special courses to teach them how to deal with bullies.

£39,500 of Children in Need in 2005 donations were awarded to 4 Children, for its work on an anti-bullying programme. The money raised contributed towards the ongoing research and consultation with children and playworkers, as well as the cost of putting together a resource pack and bullying factfile for parents.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Girls in art

Claude Joseph Bail




Odilon Redon




Joseph-Desiree Court






Sally Mann

Gerard Burns

Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger

Sophie Anderson

John Collier

Gil Elvgren


Eugène Begarat





Lehnert Landrock

Von Hofmann


Pirelli (various)



John Duncan


Roger San miguel

Frederick Arthur Bridgman in the Art Renewal Center

Henri Lebasque




Charles Atamian

Louise Welden Hawkins

Eugene Medard

Herbert Draper

John Duncan


Harem, belly-dance, orientalism (many pictures)

Acille Zo

Edwin Long


Matthew Peak$11800.jpg

Margaret Dean

Lucian Freud



Michael McCabe

Pierre Grisot


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Von Gloeden

Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856–1931) was a German photographer who went to live in Sicily in Italy. He photographed boys.

His photos (and his models) encouraged Oscar Wilde, Alfred Krupp, Richard Strauss, and the German Kaiser to come to Sicily.

Von Gloeden and his photos 'were generally accepted and respected'. The popularity of his work in Germany, England, and America can possibly be attributed to the following reasons :

1. The Classical and painterly themes disguised the erotioc content.

2. New printing technologies enabled the mass reproduction and sale of his work in postcard form.

The following is from:

...Who was the man who left such an enduring mark on Taormina, the man who bequeathed his prodigious photographic estate to Pancrazio Bucini (his last model who only passed away in 1977 at the age of eighty-seven), the man who made his entry into the history of photography as the master of the male nude?

...The life of this Prussian baron, who was born in 1856 in East Prussia and who died in Taormina in 1931, reads like a fairytale dating from the late Victorian or Edwardian periods.

Von Gloeden, a young Prussian country squire, left his homeland for Italy to regain his physical (he suffered from a disabling lung condition) and mental health (the psychological distress he experienced as a pederast unable to indulge his erotic fantasies). After arriving in Taormina, which at the close of the nineteenth century was a small, impoverished Sicilian town unknown to tourists, not only did health and psyche improve, but von Gloeden was able to embark upon his artistic career.

Wilhelm von Pluschow, a distant relative living in Naples, inspired von Gloeden to dedicate himself to the craft of his newly discovered photographic hobby.

Using local boys as models, von Gloeden endeavoured in his "tableaux vivants" to achieve a vision of Arcady. The story of the baron's life became the subject of a biography by Roger Peyrefitte, the French sensationalist author...

Von Gloeden's visitors' book, since lost, could boast the signatures of Oscar Wilde, Gabriele d'Annunzio, Eleonora Duse, the King of Siam and King Edward VII, as well as those of such well-known bankers and industrialists as Morgan, Krupp, Vanderbilt and Rothschild. In 1911, von Gloeden was awarded a medal in recognition of his valuable assistance in helping Taormina become a favourite tourist destination.

In his work, von Gloeden presented a vision of Taormina's past as a golden age brimming with Greek, Roman, Arab and Norman influences...

Von Gloeden was a pioneer, one of the first to compose his nude studies outside the studio...

At the close of the nineteenth century, von Gloeden's work found swift recognition within the world of photography, his images appearing at important international exhibitions. During 1893 his photographs were published in such trend-setting periodicals as "The Studio" and Velhagen & Klasing's "Kunst f?r Alle" (Art for everyone). In 1898 von Gloeden became a corresponding member of Berlin's "Freie Photographische Vereinigung" (Free Photographic Society).

...Two factors appear astonishing to us today: how was it possible that Victorian censors allowed the publication of nude images so unrepentantly realistic and how did von Gloeden succeed in convincing local boys to pose for him without either their families or the Church intervening? Von Gloeden's photographs are, as we have already noted, neither extravagantly provocative nor blatantly pornographic - in point of fact, they quite usually exclude an aura of innocence.

Gratuitous sexual and pornographic images are absent from von Gloeden's work. The strong formal elements of his images remain faithful to the classical rules of composition which prevailed during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; so too, his preference for the androgynous male nude.

Fully evident is a homosexual preoccupation with such libidinally charged areas of the anatomy as the penis and buttocks...

How did von Gloeden persuade the local boys to pose for him? Aside from the fact that their activity was remunerated, one must bear in mind that von Gloeden, a man of charisma, arrived in the community as a generous benefactor. In its "indigenous souls" he believed himself to have discovered the direct descendants of the ancient Greeks, a lineage which, though reduced to rags, retained its nobility. One must also bear in mind that, throughout the Christian Mediterranean, homosexuality was tacitly tolerated as a passing phase in a young man's life.

"This could quite well be a result", Gert Schiff points out, "of the age-old Graeco-Roman tradition. But perhaps a more logical solution lies in the regional custom of keeping the two sexes separated until marriage, and thus in the wisdom of the church - to be magnanimous in all peripheral questions, yet utterly implacable with regard to the preservation of its own political power."

...Works by such artists as Frederic Leighton, Alma Tademas and Maxfield Parish evidence their acquaintance with Gloeden's oeuvre...

Deprived of his family income, von Gloeden, the aristocratic amateur, was obliged to employ his artistic hobby as a means of livelihood.


The following is from:

Gloeden, Wilhelm von, Baron (1856-1931) by Jason Goldman

... The standard tale paints von Gloeden as an affluent German--a member of the minor nobility of Mecklenberg in Northern Germany--who, suffering from what was probably tuberculosis, moved to the Sicilian village of Taormina in his twenties.

According to this account, he was instantly enamored of the village boys who eventually became the subjects of his Homeric photographs by day and the objects of his personal pleasure by night. The Baron's family wealth financed a lavish lifestyle; he hosted a slew of guests from throughout Europe, many of whom indulged in the nocturnal orgies he orchestrated at his villa with the local boys.

The bulk of von Gloeden's photographs were made between 1890 and 1914 and belong to a generation of pictures that romanticize pastoral life in the wake of widespread industrialization. Several of his models reportedly remained devoted to him until his death in 1931, shortly after which many of his glass negatives were seized or destroyed by Mussolini's Fascist police under a pornography charge.

Although von Gloeden has been largely mythologized as a charming, generous benefactor and hero of homoerotic photography, it is important also to think of his work in relation to the colonial dynamics of his presence in impoverished Taormina. His subjects' bodies were not classically athletic, but the callused products of hard labor--an effect the aristocratic German attempted to smooth over with a homemade emulsion.

The Baron's economic clout in the small village ensured both a civic stake in his work and tolerance of his open homosexuality. Not only did von Gloeden employ several boys as domestic servants, but he also became a pre-war sugar daddy, financing dowries and new businesses for his models. Despite the village's strong Catholic dogmas, von Gloeden was thus able to procure its sons for both his camera's gaze and his guests' (as well as his own) sexual tourism.

Von Gloeden's images epitomize a standard tactic of early homoerotic image-making: the "classical" scenes, costumes, and props in his compositions act as alibis for their homoerotic narratives, legitimizing the camera's obsessive gaze upon the boys' bare bodies.

For the mainstream audience that consumed them, the Homeric themes and allusions to antiquity--coupled with the depiction of the pastoral countryside--were crucial for reading von Gloeden's images as nostalgic, asexual visions of a simpler life or as ethnographic portraits.

However, the homoerotic impetus of his work is by no means covert; the lack of moral scrutiny of his work by the Victorians is as surprising as the censorship of his work by the Fascists is predictable. Over and over again, carefully crafted poses, sultry looks, and passionate caresses cement a homoerotic subtext.

Given this, the "classical" themes are also readable as an early example of kitsch: the irreverent recombination of Greek and Roman regalia mixed in with faux leopard print rugs and potted palms set the boys' eroticism in a melodramatic vision of "old world" sensuality.

Equally important are the ways in which von Gloeden's pictures contribute to a long-standing tradition of the docile, brown-skinned sex object within European art. As his production is contemporaneous with the rise of modern tourism among the wealthy, and as his images were celebrated mainly among affluent socialites, these boys' eroticism is largely informed by racial, cultural, and class difference.

Indeed, many of his photographs were printed in postcard format, as if to capture both the cultural exoticism and sexual availability of the local boys in true souvenir fashion.

Jason Goldman


Donatello, Deineka, Guttuso...

Frank Sutcliffe Excitement 1888

Richard G. Mann at glbtq has an article on art.


Mann writes that Hinduism sees sexuality as a means to attain unity with the divine.

Hindu temples have sculptures that are bisexual in nature.

Islamic and British invaders destroyed many of the sexual scenes on Hindu temples, but some have survived, as at the Vishvanatha Temple at Khajuraho (950-1050).


Bisexual behaviour was common in ancient Greece. Mann relates that Harmodius and Aristogiton, who established democracy in Athens, were lovers.

According to Mann, scenes on Greek vases ranged from 'casual flirtations between bearded older and smooth-faced younger men' to wild "orgies" and "Boisterous" Satyrs.

Alexander the Great's love for Hephaestion 'is celebrated in a Hellenistic relief (preserved in a Roman Syrian marble copy, approximately 200 B.C.E.), which shows the nude Alexander standing next to the clothed figure of his lover'.


Mann reminds us that the Roman Emperor Hadrian commissioned numerous (partially clothed) statues of the beautiful young Antinous for display throughout the empire.

'Scenes of lively nude male figures engaged in a wide variety of sexual activities covered the walls of bathhouses' (such as the House of Jupiter and Ganymede, Ostia, Italy, 184-192 C.E.).

The Warren Cup (first century C.E.)

Mann continues:


Donatello, 'whose attraction to young men is well documented', created the bronze David (1430s).,%20Italy%20-%20Donatello

'David is shown wearing a hat, popular among young working class youths in Florence. The intense naturalism with which the adolescent body is depicted suggests the artist's careful (and admiring) study of his apprentices.'

Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (1477-1549) chose the nickname "Il Sodoma". He painted nude martyred saints (such as Saint Sebastian, 1542).

Albrecht Dürer portrayed naked men 'provocatively gazing at one another in the contemporary setting of the Bathhouse (woodcut, 1496); he emphasized the sexual implications of the scene by placing a cock (rooster) on top of the large faucet that projected in front of one of the figures.'

Michelangelo 'revealed his conflicting feelings about his sexual desires in a pair of drawings in made in 1533 for his beloved Tomasso Cavalieri: Ganymede, which depicts the beautiful, nude adolescent being carried up to heaven by an embracing eagle, and Tityos, which shows an eagle eating the intestines of a very similar figure.'

Caravaggio who 'boldly flaunted his attraction to other men, created numerous homoerotic works.' Love Triumphant (1602) shows 'a naturalistically depicted street youth trampling on symbols of human achievement.'
Guido Reni's Saint Sebastian (1615) 'eloquently reveals that nude figures, required by certain devotional and mythological subjects, could be infused with a languid and subtly subversive sexuality.'


Same sex relations became legal at the time of the French Revolution and Napoleon.

Numerous prominent artists 'exhibited paintings of overtly homoerotic nudes at the Paris Salons in the early nineteenth century'.

Hippolyte Flandrin's Figure d'Etude (1835), 'which depicts a youthful model with his head bent down onto his raised knees, freed the homoerotic subject from the requirements of a mythological or historical theme.' Hippolyte Flandrin in the Art Renewal Center

In Simeon Solomon's Bridegroom and Sad Love (1865), a nude youth is dispassionately kissing the forehead of his bride while he fondles the genitals of the sorrowful adult Cupid standing alongside him.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Von Gloeden's art involved photograph of boys and young men in Taormina, Sicily. 'He established a successful mail-order business, selling his works to wealthy men throughout Europe and the Americas.' Von Gloeden

The American painter Thomas Eakins created 'naturalistic, distinctly American images of heroic, nude male figures.'


At the beginning of the century, the American painter Charles Demuth created several watercolors of scenes New York bathhouses.

Paul Cadmus painted nudes, such as Horseplay (1935) and The Bath (1951).


Picasso nudes






Paul Peel


Jules Van Biesbroeck


Luwig Von Hofmann


Frederick Walker

Arthur Hopkins

Lord Leighton

Henry Scott Tuke


Albert Aublet

Jean Broc

Carpentier Evariste

Maxfield Parrish


John Singer Sargent

Frank Sutcliffe 1890
The Sutcliffe Gallery



Manson and others

Terry Rogers

Gerard Burns

Jean-François Le Saint

Balthus .


Czech art

Eugene Jansson


Anna Merritt


Lehnert Landrock



Alexandre Cabanel



Robert Doisneau

Willy Ronis

Herbert List

Arthur Tress

Will McBride

Duncan Carse




Angelica Kauffmann

Laszlo Marton


John George Brown


Nell Joshua

Charles Gleyre

Bernhard Prinz -

Andre Durand - See full-size image. 001Durand/source/9.html

Michel Gourlier

Pierre Joubert

E.M. St Petersburg



Sunday, November 06, 2005

Charles II, The Earl of Rochester, Johnny Depp

The bisexual Earl of Rochester was a favourite of Britain's King Charles II.

Rochester wrote poetry:

There's a sweet, soft page of mine
Does the trick worth forty wenches.

In Laurence Dunmore's feature-film "The Libertine," Johnny Depp plays the libidinous John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester in the court of King Charles II

According to Amy Farmer at :

The infamous farce Sodom: The Quintessence of Debauchery has been credited to Rochester.

In Sodom, King Bolloxinion declares buggery to be the intercourse of choice throughout the land since heterosexuality is so abhorrent and unclean...

Rochester's poems participate in the libertine ethic of bisexuality so prevalent during the Restoration. Being part of the court culture not only gave Rochester his infamous reputation but also access to the aristocratic privilege of sexual liberty and experimentation. His poetic persona explores all the available avenues of sexual activity open to men of his class in the Restoration.

George S Rousseau, at, writes:

Almost from the moment of his return from exile in France in 1660, King Charles II established the tone of his court, in town and country, based on personal pleasure and liberty.

The drama, his favorite pastime, was reinstated as the main form of courtly entertainment, and sexual liberty was condoned in ways previously unknown....

The king himself was accused of engaging in overt sodomitical liaisons with the Duke of Buckingham...

Pepys's London was a world of man-boy relations in which broadsides commonly called attention to relations with pages and "link boys vile."...

It is a myth that Restoration bisexuality existed primarily in the form of male-female commensurability: that is, a man appearing with his (female) whore on one arm and his (male)catamite or "pathic" on the other. The issue is not the commensurability of both a male and female at the same time, but the interpretive problem of historical anachronism: studying the history of sexuality backward.

Indeed, we must guard against the tendency to understand homosexuality through the eyes of its later versions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The English Restoration (1660-1700) was populated with homosexual men in our modern sense, but they were neither portrayed on the stage as effeminate nor represented as flourishing in the homosexual subcultures that developed in the eighteenth century...


He is renowned for being anti-vice.

He is a major in the UK Territorial Army and recently spent 6 months in Iraq giving legal advice to the new government.

He is a senior prosecutor in the city of Glasgow.

He is 'renowned for being anti-vice and has branded prostitutes a scourge'.

Now, he has allegedly been caught with his trousers down.

Crown lawyer and prostitute arrested:




A TOP Scots lawman last night sensationally admitted paying for ...


Forensic mix-up casts fresh Lockerbie doubt.

Police chief- Lockerbie evidence was faked


Lockerbie Bomb and Ecuador and New Zealand

Lockerbie bomb verdict thrown into doubt

Secret plan for Lockerbie bomber; Megrahi to leave Britain.

Lord Fraser: my Lockerbie trial doubts


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Double Agents - Militants Beware

In 1605 the UK government claimed to have uncovered a plot to blow up parliament.

Some historians do not believe the government version of the Gunpowder Plot.

Some historians have argued that the conspiracy was really devised by King James's spy-master, Robert Cecil.

It is argued that Cecil wanted to have an excuse to clamp down on Catholics and take more land and money from them.

Many people, when told about the Gunpowder Plot, agreed to Cecil's plans to pass a series of laws persecuting Catholics.

Some historians suggest that Cecil blackmailed Robert Catesby into organising the plot.

Back in 1605, rumours circulated that Francis Tresham, a probable double agent who knew too much, had been poisoned while being held captive in the Tower of London.

There is one theory that Tresham was allowed to escape to Spain where he travelled under the name of Matthew Brunninge.

Information on Tresham:


The Gunpowder Plot of 1605:

The official story of the gunpowder plot does not make sense.

The 'confessions' were obtained under torture.

Why would the Catholic plotters have wanted to blow up parliament when it housed not only Protestants but also all the country's leading Catholics?

Elizabeth, James' Protestant daughter, was was due to take over, if the plotters succeeded.

Why would the Catholic plotters want Elizabeth on the throne?

The government had a monopoly on gunpowder and it was stored in places like the Tower of London.

How did the conspirators get hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder without drawing attention to themselves?

How was the gunpowder moved across London from the Tower of London to Westminster (at least two miles distant) without anyone seeing it?

The River Thames would not have been used as it could have lead to the gunpowder becoming damp and useless.

Thirty six barrels would have been a sizeable quantity to move without causing suspicion.

Why were men who were known to be Catholics allowed to rent out a house so near to the Houses of Parliament?

How did they move 36 barrels from that house to the cellar of the Houses of Parliament without anyone noticing?

Why, for the first time in history, was there a search of Parliament's cellars that conveniently found Guy Fawkes?

Why was the soldier who killed the plotters Catesby and Percy at Holbeech House in the Midlands, given such a large pension for life (10p a day for life) when their arrest and torture was more desirable so that the names of any other conspirators might be found out?


From larwilson2001:

The plotters were all known to the authorities. Winter and Percy were actually paid by the government as double-agents!

They didn't notice anything suspicious when the date of opening parliament was changed to the 4th November 'The King's Day'. It was normally the end of October.

They could have escaped while Fawkes was being questioned but they all went to hide in the house of Robert Catesby!


From Channel 4:

The Monteagle letter

A member of the House of Lords, Lord Monteagle, a closet Catholic, received a letter warning him not to attend parliament.

Monteagle was married to Robert Catesby's first cousin Elizabeth Tresham.

On 26 October, he was handed an anonymous letter that had been delivered to one of his servants by a mysterious stranger.

It urged Monteagle to 'Retire yourself into the country for ... they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament and yet they shall not see who hurts them.'

By his own account, Monteagle immediately took the letter to James I's spymaster, Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury.

On Friday, 1 November, Cecil showed it to his royal master, who had been away on a hunting trip.

The following day, the decision was taken to search the Houses of Parliament 'above and below' – but two more days passed before this was done.

After the discovery of the plot, Monteagle received land and a pension worth £500 a year.

Who wrote the Monteagle letter?

The balance of opinion is that it was a concocted document, but we will never know exactly by whom.

It was truly a 'dark and doubtful' communication, possibly fabricated by Monteagle himself with the connivance of Cecil.

Certainly Cecil's leisurely approach to interpreting its meaning and showing it to the king suggest his complicity.



If, as Father Gerard thinks (and he is not at all alone in his opinion), the government knew of the plot for some time before Monteagle's letter and yet allowed it to proceed, from that time it was no longer a conspiracy against the crown, but a conspiracy of the crown against political adversaries, whom they were luring on, by some agent provocateur, to their doom.

In the case of the Babington Plot, indeed, we have direct proof that this was done in the letters of the provocateurs themselves.


Thursday, November 03, 2005


Letter from Beethoven to his nephew:

Baden, August 16, 1823.

My dear boy,

I did not wish to say anything to you till I found my health improving here, which, however, is scarcely even yet the case.... Nothing can be more tempting (to me at least) than the enjoyment of beautiful Nature at these baths, but nous sommes trop pauvres, et il faut écrire ou de n'avoir pas de quoi. Get on, and make every preparation for your examination, and be unassuming, so that you may prove yourself higher and better than people expect. Send your linen here at once; your gray trousers must still be wearable, at all events at home; for, my dear son, you are indeed very dear to me!

My address is, "At the coppersmith's," &c. Write instantly to say that you have got this letter. I will send a few lines to that contemptible creature, Schindler, though I am most unwilling to have anything to do with such a wretch. If we could write as quickly as we think and feel, I could say a great deal not a little remarkable; but for to-day I can only add that I wish a certain Carl may prove worthy of all my love and unwearied care, and learn fully to appreciate it.

Though not certainly exacting, as you know, still there are many ways in which we can show those who are better and nobler than ourselves that we acknowledge their superiority.

I embrace you from my heart.

Your faithful and true father.

The following is from:

“Wicked I am not, truly I am not wicked;Though wild up‑surgings often may plead against my heart” - Ludwig van Beethoven(from a letter to a friend)

Beethoven’s nephew... attempted suicide to escape his legal guardian’s obsessive rearing. But was the never-married genius gay?

Did he have relations with his whoring sister-in-law’s son?

Was his “Immortal Beloved” ... a man?...

“Behind this portrait, my dear, good Steffen, all that happened between us for a time shall be hidden forever. I know I have rent your heart. My own emotion, which you must surely have noticed, has been insufficient punishment for this offence.”

- Ludwig van Beethoven(from a letter to Stephan von Breuning.

The following is from Paris/Opera/1829/beethoven:

Beethoven's father was an unstable and vicious man. Early in his son's life he realized his genius and the rewards it could reap. At the age of four, Ludwig was made to repeat the successes of Handel, Bach and Mozart.Beethoven was shut into a garret and made to practice for hours on end at the piano and violin. It is said that his sole companion was a spider who would crawl out of the corner and perch on the little boy's violin....

Beethoven had immense affection for his nephew, Carl. He lavished all his attention on the boy whom had shown great promise. However, his upbringing had ruined him. Beethoven was dedicated to educating him and saving him from his enviroment.

A long lawsuit followed in order to gain custody of Carl which was very distressing on him. "Oh God, aid me! Hear my prayer which I make to Thee, that at least for the future I may live with my Carl! Oh cruel fate, implacable destiny...No, no my unhappiness will never end!"In the end, Beethoven won the lawsuit.

However, happiness was not to follow. Carl was unmotivated and failed at most things and he showed no gratitude.His uncle still did his best to reform him. He loved him until the end and believed he could help him. Carl was once quoted at saying "I have become worse because my uncle wished me to do better." He had failed in all that he had been given the chance to do.