To my readers......


Thanks for visiting mitchmen, home of Mitchell's Gay Art

The Caps and Collars/ Flat Cap Gang story at Google Groups has been on a break since January, I am working on it and hope to resume shortly. (see Group News for link)

Message updated 14th July 2024

Monday 31 October 2011

Royale Studios 17 - The Soldier-Sailor Set (FJSS) - 3

In picture 7, both men are wearing tops and this is as fully dressed as they get. It's worth pointing out that while this set appears to show men getting dressed, the purchaser of the individual prints had the option of viewing these pictures in reverse sequence, so the men start fully clothed and gradually loose clothes with progressively more sexual innuedo until they end up naked.

Royale Studios - Soldier-Sailor - 7

Here there's some sort of conversation going on. The subject becomes clear as the pictures progress but it's clear there is a degree of reluctance on the sailors part - which is always good for erotic tension! 

The soldier's battledress top was a style that ended at the waist (like a bomber jacket) and so always had the erotic potential to be worn without the normal accompanyment of full length, somewhat baggy trousers of the same material. His shorts in these pictures, hitched up to give full exposure to Fred Collin's thighs, would have looked startlingly like underwear, producing more of an erotic frisson then than they do today. 

The sailor looks pretty smart in his full uniform (if we overlook the trouser creasing of course!) Royale would have made it themselves. It's reasonably authentic although the black collar ribbon (in memory of Nelson) looks too broad. Like the beret, the British Naval cap is a tricky style of headgear (erotically speaking) but always looks cute tilted forward like this. As you can see, the jumper-style top ends just above the crotch and frames beautifully the undulations in that area! I've never liked the practice of wearing the belt over the jumper but it is militarily a correct way to dress. 
Royale Studios - Soldier-Sailor - 8
The sailor now begins to undress again revealing his attractive backside to us as he does so. The mirror reflection (possibly assisted by the hazy reproduction) is nicely erotic showing a well proportioned body and attractive face rounded off with a glimpse of flesh and interesting bulges. 

Fred seems a bit of a spare part in this and looks a bit awkward. The jolly grin is meant to reassure censors that there's no funny business going on. But it's no accident that he is placed so close to the sailors reflection, their legs almost appearing to touch or interlock. The sailor in the reflected image appears to be admiring Fred's rear and becoming aroused by it.

Royale Studios - Soldier-Sailor - 9

Picture 9 is print quality and gives us much the same scene as 8 with a slightly different view of the sailor's midriff and well padded groin area. You can see the front flap clearly here and the curious disappearing belt.

Seen with the addition of the battledress top, Fred's shorts have now taken on something of the appearance of those worn by schoolboys or scouts. Men dressing as Scouts is the subject of other Royale sets, a tricky theme these days but not then. Other than Fred's admiring look and his proximity to the reflection (with suggestive bulge), there was little to disturb the genteel here.

This image is meant to suggest that the Sailor has difficulty removing his top (possibly because it is wet). It is setting the scene for No 10 where Fred gallantly steps in and gives him assistance, providing us with an excellent view of his thighs in the process.

Royale Studios - Soldier-Sailor - 10

The erotic significance of the sailors bent over pose needs no explanation but you should also notice which part of Fred's body he is bending his head towards, it looks almost as if Fred is pushing up to meet it. The sailors hands placed on Fred's waist are intimate in their own way but also produces a suggestive shadow - and is that Fred's balls I see?  

Part 4

For earlier articles in this series click on the GIU/Royale label below

Saturday 29 October 2011

Royale Studios 17 - The Soldier-Sailor Set (FJSS) - 2

My copy of Picture 4 is a full size print and I have to admit this frontal pose doesn't seem very sexy, although it shows off Fred's marvellous thighs and John the Sailor's upper body well. In this image  the models have assumed a military persona. This is the era of compulsory military service in the UK when young men are forced to leave their friends and family and enter a tough all-male environment where they have little freedom and have to do exactly as they are told. Seen in this light the un-military poses and resigned facial expressions make more sense.

Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor 4
The Sailor's trousers seem just too tight here, they appear have been stuffed but the groin detail is still interesting - is that darker area a wet 'tide-mark? His belt disappears inside the front flap of his trousers for some reason, which doesn't enhance the top line although I can understand the sensuality of that idea. You can see the wet creasing more clearly on the lower leg here. Tucking the trousers inside the gaiters is the correct way to use them, they serve no practical purpose with shorts - except for those who enjoy seeing strappings round limbs!
Post Script - Apparently gaiters with shorts was OK, see reader comment below

Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor 5

Things improve in pictures 5 and 6 as the pair admire themselves in a mirror. Curiously, the reflections of these men (especially Fred, the soldier) look much more impressive and interesting than they did in the straight forward frontal shot of picture 4, even the set of the beret seems more natural. John the sailor's back and bottom look great while Fred's poses show off his shorts particularly well, they curve around the thighs giving them solidity. These pictures are well composed and appealing but there is no lack of suggestive sexuality when you consider the sharply defined ass cracks and the frontal bulges.

Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor 6

I have seen it said on one blog that the intended recipients of these pictures were contemptuous of the obvious padding and rejected it, but that is to miss the point. It was illegal to sell or buy explicit images or excessively suggestive ones for that matter. The customers may have despised it but they knew it was all they were going to get. They had to make the best of little mounds hidden amongst the swimwear, rejoice in the shared understanding of subversive symbolism and enjoy the game as studios pushed at boundaries with ever more audacious images.

For earlier articles in this series click on the GIU/Royale label below
I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has better quality copies of these pictures and is willing to share

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Royale Studios 17 - The Soldier-Sailor Set (FJSS) - 1

The FJSS set is a fairly typical example of what we might call Royale Studios 'Uniform' work - they also published a lot of conventional beefcake pictures featuring prominent bodybuilders. These military themed pictures seem quaint and artificial at first sight but closer investigation reveals a strongly erotic content can be as thrilling today as it was then.
The opening shot shows the two models posing naked apart from their footwear. The sailor (on the left) is ironing his uniform (yes, with an unplugged, cold iron!). This is studio print and you can immediately see how good the quality of the photography was. Also how well-built the models were, just look at the sailor's back and the soldier's thigh development.

Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor 1

This nudity would have been a problem in 50's Britain. Muscle posing in swimwear was OK but just putting two nude men together like this, in a pseudo-domestic situation without any pretence of classicism was risky. The positioning of the iron contrives to conceal the naughty bits but this would be regarded as smutty rather than artistic. 
Royale tried to disguise the erotic nature of these pictures, but the police could hardly fail to notice the positioning of the sailor's grasping hand, right in front of the soldier's groin and the focal point of both men's gaze. I suppose they might just have missed the erotic significance of the iron's pointed shape and the curious resemblance between the lower part of the handle and a man's scrotum, but seen with the right eyes this picture is simulating a jerk-off, plain and simple.

Publishers did seek to wriggle out of prosecutions with the argument that “evil is in the eye of the beholder” but it didn't work very often, not least because the artifice is very obvious once it is spotted. 
The first picture is the only one in Royale's catalogue sheet for this set which shows the models naked where it counts. It's a bit of an 'odd man out'. From the second picture onwards they are both wearing trousers.

As an amateur Royale sleuth , the first picture also stands out to me in another way in that both model's gaiters (the ankle strappings) are light coloured whereas from picture 2 onwards, the soldier's gaiters look dark (as they should do, army gaiters being coloured khaki rather than white, that is for the Navy uniform). It makes you wonder if the first picture really belongs in a different set, but having said that, the ironing table does appear in both pictures 1 & 2, so maybe it's just a trick of the light.

Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor 2

Picture 2 is taken from the catalogue sheet, so it's fuzzy but this is another great picture. The high waisted trousers show off the sailor's tapered torso rather well but the beret (a tricky garment to wear sexily) is less helpful for Fred's soldier image, try covering the rear overhang with your finger and you'll see what I mean. 
At first glance it all seems quite respectable, the pose is intimate in nature but has a classical ancestry in studies of the hero being readied for battle. Movie buffs will also recognise the female equivalent (maid dressing mistress) from numerous frivolous comedies of this era. So it's actually a commonplace image. Naturally the implied master-servant relationship would appeal strongly to British sensibilities at this time'! 
But if you think this picture is just naïve beefcake, look again! John the sailor's trousers are so tight that his balls are clearly outlined and his relaxed open pose seems to offer them up, unguarded, to Fred. A shadow cast by the soldier's arm looks like a cock which Fred is grasping, which the viewer knows he can do, if he undoes the button in his hand and lowers the flap at the front of the sailor's trousers. Clever stuff.
I have heard that Royale tailored garments to individual models to ensure this revealing fit. The soldier's shorts look as though they have had this treatment too. Royale also soaked them in water to make them cling to body contours, the vertical creasing below the sailor's knee and lack of volume where they tuck into the gaiters suggests this is the case here. 
The preparation for these sessions must have entailed considerable work and would have made an erotic movie in it's own right! The thought of innocent new models being put through all this unexpected intimacy and awkwardsness just to earn a few pounds is sexy too. That's a theme I follow up in my “Naive Models” series (which can be viewed at the mitchmen archive - see Gallery Hub for link).
Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor 3
In picture 3 the 'dressing' roles are reversed with the sailor adjusting his buddies belt. The wet tight clothing shows off his behind, and Fred's also looks good, you can also see some nice musculature in their backs and thighs. The sailor's profile is attractive too, you even get a sense of how sexy the fashionable, quiffed hair was at this time. 
Fred's pose is a bit stiff and distant, possibly deliberately so, to fend off any criticism of intimacy. There's an element of lens distortion in this picture which increases the separation effect. Royale were probably on safer ground with this one although in the context of the whole set the proximity of hand to bottom is still suggestive, particularly with Fred's backward glance seeming to say 'what are you up to?' There are the makings of a very sexy image here.
Continued in Part2

For earlier articles in this series click on the GIU/Royale label below

Saturday 22 October 2011

Lightbox Feature

Shafted in the mineshaft at Bound Gods

If you notice something different here it's because I have turned off the 'lightbox' feature which Google recently introduced without telling anyone. It effectively extracted all the pictures in a post and displayed them 'filmstrip style' in an overlay. I don't think it's suitable for this blog where it is intended that you read the text alongside viewing the pictures. I wish computer geeks would stop fixing things that aren't broke!

Update Monday 24th - However I will qualify my criticism by saying I think the lightbox display looks better than the old style 'box in the corner of a white screen' format which is why I haven''t switched it off on my address. I rarely post more than one picture on posts there.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Royale Studios 17 - Two Mysteries Solved - Part 5

Royale Studios - 'Unapproved' series 1

Above is another picture from the Unapproved School series showing the sailor more clearly.

Is this the same model as in 'FJSS' below?

Royale Studios - Soldier Sailor (FJSS) Series
I must admit I am not sure, but it's a tantalising thought!
The next picture, also from Unapproved School shows the sailor with his cap off.
This is clearly a different man, John Dawes, another Royale favourite and showing a splendid physique, although Fred Collins' thighs might edge him for sheer bulk. 
Royale Studios - 'Unapproved' Series 2

Unapproved School was published as two sets and the images show here come from the two different halves. It's concievable that the models changed between sets, but probably not. 
Why does it matter? It's only because the opening scenes of Unapproved School are somewhat incoherent with dressings and undressings and punishments for no clear reason before the escape sequence gets under way (see my previous article on 'Unapproved' for more). 
If the FJSS series is a precursor then it might untangle the 'storyette' a little.
In my next posts I'll look at the FJSS set and reproduce it with some full size versions of the images.
For earlier articles in this series click on the GIU/Royale label below

Sunday 9 October 2011

Royale Studios 17 - Two Mysteries Solved - Part 4

In my previous post I suggested that the catalogue label 'FJSS' stood for 'Fred and John' the names of the two models. The 'SS' I suspect is simply Soldier-Sailor. This is not just a wild guess. Royale advertisements which I have do mention a Soldier-Sailor set (without showing a sample picture unfortunately). Connoisseurs will also know that there are other Royale pictures circulating on the the internet using this label but they are from a different set 'Unapproved School', you will probably recognise the one below. 
from Royale Studio's - “Unapproved School”
You can immediately see a striking similarity to the uniforms used in the FJSS set, (sample below) and the soldier is clearly Fred Collins once again.
Does this mean the two sets are linked? 
And what about the EX2 bit? 
More next time in Part 5.
For earlier articles in this series click on the GIU/Royale label below