La casa de cita; Mexican photographs from the belle epoque, with an afterword by Colin Osman. Ava Vargas, compiler.

La casa de cita; Mexican photographs from the belle epoque, with an afterword by Colin Osman

London: Quartet Books, 1986. Unpaginated preliminaries (Vargas' introduction runs to seven pages, the afterword to four, and there are plates not designated by number), then 82 fullpage plates in b&w, varieties of sepia, and monochromatic red-orange. First edition 12 x 9.75 inch cloth boards in dj, very faintest shelfwear, jacket has a few nicks and rubbed highlights.

Portraits of young women, alone, in pairs and threes, usually full-length, a few torso & face only. Some are posed (and all are very much "posed") outdoors in bosky wood or freshet-laced dell, or indoors amidst grand furniture and drapery.
"Casa de cita" translates literally as meeting-house, but in the usage of the time, as bordello --specifically bordello in the French style. "Unlike the brothels of the lower orders, this was not somewhere [Vargas' English is stilted but clear] designed solely for the purpose of sexual transaction. Rather was it an elegant variation on the gentleman's club, where the nobility could, after dining quietly at home, drop by to meet friends and colleagues over a drink and a cigar.. The men were meanwhile waited on by attractive, elegantly dressed young women, who would sing and play for them, and also provide a little discreet sex for those who desired it." --compiler Vargas rather gets into the spirit of the thing, she goes on in this vein at length, and learnedly. As for the plates themselves, these are from "stereoscopic positives on glass," which reproduce awfully well; the prints are densely inked, detailed, subtle. A few poses suggest lesbian activity, these for male interest.

Cat.No: 73022
ISBN: 0704325780

Price: $22.00