Erotic Art Mystery: The Master of the College Nurse
During my research on the attribution and dating of some erotic drawings and sketches which initially stand out because of the characteristic angular line work of the faces, I came across a reference on a forum to the introduction Jamie Maclean wrote for one of the volumes for a book series entitled Great British Erotic Art issued by the Erotic Print Society (EPS) in 2005.
As this preface offers nice insights on the artist's drawings and the time they were made I've included it below in its entirety:
"In 1985, in what now seems like a previous incarnation, I had an art gallery in London and, with another art dealer, gave an exhibition of erotic art entitled Forbidden Images. The following year we followed it up with another show, this time of erotic illustration, called The Forbidden Library.
In this was a group of twenty drawings in pencil and colored crayon that we simply named 'English School, circa 1955'. At the time, that was our rough estimate of the date of their origination, but now I think it may be earlier. We ken that a further 60 of these drawings were carried out for a single project, far too many to illustrate any single book.
Some of these drawings had captions some were coloured. Their average size was about 12 x 10 cms. And that was it. We always hoped that the other sixty would turn up and sure enough, 20 years later, nearly 50 have, kindly lent by their owner, Mr Laurent Delaye. We may never know the exact date, but at some time around 1950 someone who was much better than amateur, most probably an illustrator or commercial artist, set out to depict a stirring tale of great erotic drama.
Underground Erotic Novels
Whether or not there was an accompanying text we do not know. And even trying to piece the plot together has proved more or less impossible. So we've simply extemporised and a story, with the title of The College Nurse, has been written to compliment the images, more or less in the style of the underground erotic novels that flourished about that time.
Great Lost Talents
No doubt these illicit texts were occasionally illustrated, and it may be that these images were destined to illuminate just such a text. But there is no doubt that we are dealing with one of the great lost talents of British erotic art and we have called him "The Master of the College Nurse", in the same way that anonymous old master painters were similarly named.
I don't want to enter into the hoary debate of the differences between erotica and pornography, a subjective minefield at the best of times. But whatever fine moral or aesthetic distinction is placed upon them, these drawings are indisputably powerful, stylish images that are, once seen, difficult to forget. They are both arousing and intriguing with a graphic signature that is highly original.
Whether these drawings are classed as erotic illustration or pornographic art is of little consequence. Whether they were done for the purposes of filthy lucre to be sold to the highest bidder or simply because the artist had to do them for his own gratification (i.e. truly 'erotic' as the purists might say) doesn't matter very much. I'm proud to include them on this first book of our new series Great British Erotic Art ".
In Premium you can find additional background info on the book, an insightful review and many more sensual sketches and drawings depicting the adventures of this nymophanous nurse...!
Sources: The Master Of The College Nurse: Great British Erotic Art Series (2005) by The Erotic Print Society, Jamie Maclean (Erotic Print Society)