Tennis Girl Is Back

October 30, 2007

Tennis GirlThe classic 1976 poster of Fiona Butler is back. And this time it`s a limited edition.

If you were around in the summer of 1976 you`ll know that the UK got hot, bloody hot. Temperatures rose, reservoirs emptied and there were stand pipes in the streets. Then on a tennis court in Edgbaston in Birmingham Martin Elliot made things just a little hotter.

With some borrowed tennis whites and his then girlfriend Fiona Butler as his model he put a roll of Kodak film in his camera and took the photograph that ended up on two million posters. The image first appeared in a 1977 calendar, but the image really caught the public`s eye when Athena bought the rights to use the image 1978. Elliot was shrewd enough to retain the copyright, while re-licensing to them on an annual basis starting in. So when Athena went into receivership in 1994 the poster disappeared from sale. Elliot chose not to re-licence the image and apart from the usual car boot rip-offs it`s been unavailable ever since.

The image itself has, some would say, a certain innocence about it. OK, so she`s not wearing any knickers, but it`s suggestive rather than explicit, teasing rather than pornographic. Personally I like the image for all sorts of reasons, not least because Fiona has downy rather than perfectly smooth waxed legs. But the primary reason is I suspect that as I was a little young for the poster at the time of its first publication. I therefore wasn`t allowed to buy one and put it on my bedroom wall, whereas some of my older friends were. Damn, all that pubescent longing.

A number of celebs are fans too from Ricky Gervaise to Charlton Heston, who apparently has a framed copy on the wall of his LA tennis court. It`s easy to see why. The image has been described as timeless and iconic, and it is both.

Well now I have the chance to own the image again. The print run, limited to 1850 copies, will retail for £300. Expect to see them on Ebay soon. I just checked and originals are selling for around £90 (GBP). Who knows what signed limited edition prints will sell for.

If you want one of the 1850 you should visit Pyramid Posters.

Better still, if you would like to give away one of the posters as a competition prize you can get one (in exchange for branded editorial space) from Bonnie Turner at Publicasity +44 (0) 1442 261199. Be quick as there are only ten available.

Tags: Tennis Girl, Tennis Girl Poster, Martin Elliot, Fiona Butler, Pyramid Posters, Publicasity

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