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Photograph by Lewis Morley, 1963

This photograph of model Christine Keeler posed naked astride a modern plywood chair is an iconic image of the 1960s.

It was taken in May 1963, at the height of public attention surrounding the relationship between the teenage Keeler and married politician John Profumo, then Secretary of State for War. In what became known as ‘The Profumo Affair’, the revelations of their relationship scandalised the Conservative government and the British establishment, causing Profumo to resign from office and bringing notoriety to Keeler. Keeler was only 21 when this photograph was taken.

The chair is also in the V&A’s collection. At first glance, this famous seat looks exactly like an Arne Jacobsen 3107 chair. This chair was made from moulded plywood and manufactured by the Danish firm Fritz Hansens in the mid 1950s. Although made in Denmark, Keeler’s chair is in fact an early ‘rip-off’ of Jacobsen’s design. Morley claimed to have bought the chair in 1962 for £2 10s.

Photograph, by Lewis Morley, 1963
Given by members of the Knaus family through the American and International Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Inc.
Museum number: E.15-1999 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2006

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