Sunday, 24 September 2023

Brian Lamprill - new set


Bodybuilder beefcake Brian Lamprill posing for Lon of NY (Olympia)  with a hairy chest in black trunks and sexy jockstrap cum thong

A set of images of Brian Lamprill posing for Lon of NY
 with a hairy chest has been added to the gallery

see Brian Lamprill's index page

Monday, 11 September 2023

Gym Instructor

Gym Instructor

 I have added this well-known series to the Archive. 
It's a small group (6 images) and was intended to be a quick, simple addition but turned out to be anything but! It contains some great Royale spanking and shorts images and some new discoveries.

Sunday, 3 September 2023

Brian Lamprill solo poses


I have completed posting a set of Brian Lamprill solo poses
mainly in a revealing posing pouch, at the Royale Studio Gallery

Friday, 1 September 2023

Sources of Royale Imagery (updated Sep 2023)

Royale Studio - Soldier-Sailor (FJSS)

 The mitchmen Royale Studio Open Archive aims to become a major consolidator of available images, but other sources are listed below. There's also a separate section listing sources with biographical information about Clavering.

A major collection was published in the British Photographers Yahoo! Group around 2009-10 but was completely lost when Yahoo! Groups closed. There is information about the origins of the group in the milism article (ref 2, below)

 An article at milism (2002-2007) has 7 Royale images plus 1 from Guys in Uniform. Also a lot of information about Royale and the British Photographers Collection.

 Jock Spank (2010) has a good collection of 66 of images from the British Photographers collection (as published at MM_Spanking Group) tagged as 'Royale-Studios' also a further 50 tagged as Men-In-Uniform Studio which includes some Royale but are mostly 'Guys In Uniform' images (and some which are neither).


The Colville Exhibition (2016) has 16 images in colour

  Come presently has 1 unique, coloured image of Peter George 
(possibly related to the Colville collection)

'p-collection' is my name for a group of photos circulating on the web with the filename format p followed by a 3 digit number e.g. p485. These are all obviously copies of physical photographs complete with white edges, edge shadows are often visible. They seem to pop up randomly so I can't point you to a source, if anyone can help please let me know.

There's a large collection at mitchmen blog which can be located using the label 'GIU/Royale' in the sidebar. It will bring up Guys In Uniform too. Eventually these will all be replicated at this blog.

There's an enormous collection of vintage beefcake mags at TimInVermont which can be searched for Royale/Dolphin/Hussar imagery. It's not free and the image quality is sometimes so-so but there are rarities to be found. A useful option if you're keen to delve and don't want to wait for me to publish here.

Uniforms and Stereotypes blog has a good selection (around 165) images, many of them Royale, mixed up with other British Studios of the era like Scott (who he claims is a pseudonym for Basil Clavering) and 'Guys in Uniform' too. He says Clavering relocated to a flat in Portobello at some point and bought uniforms at the market there. 

Antosgay blog has a similar selection

Sailor Al's Sailor-Uniform blog has recently (Jan 2023) started posting again with Royale images, he has a set of Navy Romeo (Part 2)

A number of photos come to us from the CosmoLeather collection, a now-defunct Dutch site. These are often better quality than the more common thumbnail cuts, but have a prominent, elaborate logo on them. You'll find these scattered throughout the Archive.

There's a small but interesting collection at Vintage Muscle Men, several are actually from 'Guys in Uniform', others neither but worth seeing.


Homodesiribus has 39 posts with (mostly) Royale images, some 'Guys in Uniform' mixed in and a few doubtfuls. Also 1 post labelled 'Hussar' covers the Colville colour collection.

Sources of Information about Royale and Clavering

'Physique' The Life of John S Barrington by Rupert Smith (Serpent's Tail 1997) contains several refences to Barrington and Clavering's acquaintanceship and collaboration. 


I welcome information from visitors about other useful resources.

Wednesday, 30 August 2023

Timeline - Royale, Hussar and Dophin Studios - UPDATED, v9 Aug 2023

Changes at version 9: Clavering's contacts with John Barrington 56.1, 58.2
Changes at version 8: Info relating to the Royale- Dolphin split (60.7), US marketing (58.5)
Changes at version 7: Info on Royale's first published pictures corrected (57.2)
Changes at version 6: Tom of Finland link rewritten
Changes at version 5: Male Classic's Tribute To Royale
Changes at version 4:Royale's US marketing push
plus Magazines acknowledging their demise.



Basil Clavering reputedly started doing physique photography as a hobby in the 50's (ref 5, Colville). John Barrington's biographer actually describes him as a pornographer (Source 101) . 

He is first recorded as living at 110 Denbigh St, Pimlico, the address which was eventually to become the home of Royale Studio, in the 1956 Electoral Register.


Royale homoerotic, gay beefcake photo's
Royale Studio advertisement in Vim Vol 5 No 11 (Nov 1958)

Royale Studio seems to have officially come into being around the autumn of 1957, without any formal fanfare as far as I've been able to discover. The advertisement above, noting the 1st anniversary a year later is the nearest explicit reference I've been able to find. They already had an astonishing hundred models on their roster by then, including the young Tibor Urgay shown above. 

An analysis of the 1960, Royale Catalogue comes up with the same date, October 1957, for the publication of their first list of photo sets for sale. 

Man's World Dec 1957, Royale's First Ad


This is the earliest example I have found of Royale advertising and it features their "first three releases". It appeared in the Decembet 1957 issue of Man's World and two of the models, David Wales and Michael Babin shared a page in the body of the magazine but I have found out little else about them. Don Avard who headed up the ad was probably their first 'star' but he didn't get a feature page until the following March (see below).

Notice that Royale is already pushing the military and sporting pedigree of it's models 


The reference to collaborating with Landseer Studios in the heading is extraordinary. This was the home of a highly respectable artist, Hans Feibusch, and the location has an illustrious, artistic pedigree stretching back to Edwin Landseer. We can only guess what form the collaboration took, most likely the provision of photographic facilities, I imagine, arranged through some personal contact of Basil's.


110 Denbigh St

Royale Studio - 'Unapproved' 1958

110 Denbigh St in Pimlico was given as Royale's mailing address from the very first advertisements and was used for customer contact throughout it's existence. Basil Clavering was registered as living there from 1956 to 1966, which neatly brackets the Royale era. It seems remarkable that he should use his home address for a semi-illicit venture like this. 

It's often said that Basil Clavering set up his studio in the basement and this seems to be confirmed in the Basil at work article. However the story that the garden was used in storyettes like 'Captivity' and 'Unapproved' (as above) probably isn't true, it doesn't have a garden spacious enough.

Man nude naked sitting on a roundel prop
Don Avard by Royale Studio 1958


Three months after Royale's first advertisements, this picture of Don Avard hit the front cover of 'John Barrington's 'Manifique' (above) with Don perched on top of Royale's trademark half-roundel prop, completely naked. A more discreet picture appeared on the cover of Tomorrow's Man', Mar 1958.

Don also posed for Barrington and became friends with him. In fact Barrington became somewhat obsessed with Avard after meeting him in the street, enthusing about his personality in print. He was still printing pictures of him in Manifique in 1965 and describing him as a very good friend (his emphasis not mine). Don was in Australia by then.

Don was recorded as living at Clavering's Denbigh Street address in 1958 having registered for voting there, which suggests a lengthy stay was intended. He wasn't registered there the following year but that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't living there. Tomorrow's Man reported in Oct 1959 that he was "a member of the firm" (i.e. Royale Studio not the Royal Family!). 

Don's friendship with Barrington may have helped Royale to get front page billing in 'Manifique' but Clavering and Barrington had already been acquainted for some years, collaborating on projects and sharing models (Source 101). Barrington added Royale to his somewhat pompously titled list of 'Photographers of Repute' in the same Spring issue of 'Manifique'. However they were removed exactly a year later (without explanation) and only a few of their photos were published by him after that.

 Make of that what you will.

Royale Ad in Tomorrow's Man Vol 6 No3 1958


The advert above appeared in the March 1958 of  Tomorrow's Man (Vol 6 No 3). It featured a near naked soccer player. (I can't positively identify him, but it looks a little like Ian Oliver). There's a hint here of Royale's different, clothes-based approach to beefcake photography.

Royale Advert in Body Beautiful 2 (1958)


With their images being well received, Royal were soon paying for full page ads in the British magazines. This helped to ensure plentiful representation in the body of the magazine of course, in this case 5 full pages featuring Leslie Woodmer.

This ad features Cliff Smith (CLS), John Skilling (JOS) solo and wrestling with Fred Collins. 
I haven't identified 'ROS' yet

58.5 Royale's US ambitions

Royale Studio ad in Tomorrow's Man (Aug 1968)

This advertisement shows how Basil Clavering had quickly identified US gay men as a key target market. He didn't hold back with his copy but this pushy language was not untypical of the unsophisticated marketing of the time, Charles Atlas for example was scolding men who allowed others to kick sand in their faces (an everyday occurrence on 1950's beaches apparently).

The model shown is (I think) Cliff Smith.



Royale had advertised in the US publication, "Tomorrow's Man" from their start in 1958, but in 1959 they launched a major campaign to gain a better presence in the US Market with the ad below. It was a half-page advert and featured a now-rare image from the 1958 set 'Limey and Yankee' (set 1-ARHP from Royale's Catalogue List 'A').

Two sailors US Navy and Royal Navy toast each other bare top naked in wet tight pants
Royale Studio ad for Limey and Yankee (1-ARHP) 1959

This is a good example of Clavering's flair for marketing and publicity, drawn from his experience in the cinema industry. The bombastic tone of the script gives us an insight into his exuberant personality and wit. It also illustrates British perceptions of how to impress American customers in pre-global times. The sheer chutzpah of the ad is justified by Royale Studio's genuine success in getting itself into physique print prominence in a very short space of time. 

The dates mentioned in the ad seem a bit skewed, Royale first got into print in December'57 and this copy was probably written about a year after, with the lead time for printing seeing it published in March. As for 'hold that pose', however, they started taking photographs much earlier - see above.

This ad from Tomorrow's Man (March 1959).


60.1 Dolphin Photography

Dolphin Photography launch spread 1960
click to enlarge

In 1960, the Dolphin name was launched with this full page advertisement (above, right) in Man Alive (August edn). It promoted the "The Thieving Cowboy" series by Tom of Finland which, they said, had been "expressly drawn" for Dolphin, implying something of a coup. 

Dolphin was also represented in the editorial pages of the magazine including one picture (opposite the ad, above) of Dennis James clad, Royale style, in exceedingly tight football shorts. You can see it was paired on the page with another soccer-themed picture, but one that was attributed to Royale. 

Dennis James (aka Dennis White), was a established and popular physique model and there were two more pictures of him in that issue. Once again, one of those pictures was attributed to Royale, the other to Dolphin. It doesn't seem that there was any intention to differentiate the two 'brands' at this point.


*There was until recently a pub called the Dolphin two doors down from 110 Denbigh Street, it's a modern building but quite probably replaced an existing pub of the same name. One wonders whether Clavering and Parkhurst hatched their plans for Dolphin there. 

It's also possible the name Dolphin was inspired by Dolphin Square an up-market apartment building also close by. It was built as a garden square and thanks to its proximity to the Houses of Parliament has been home to many MP's and prominent people over the years, including Princess Anne. Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies of the Profumo scandal were also residents there and John Vassal, the homosexual, Soviet spy was arrested there in 1962. It's been called 'The UK's most notorious address'

Dolphin Photography launched with Leather Merchants 1960


A third picture by Dolphin was included in that same August 1960 issue of Man Alive and it did have something new. It showed 3 models clad from head to toe in leather and posing with a motorbike. 

'Leather Merchants' was not the usual subject matter for a physique magazine. The picture was of smallish size, almost hidden alongside two, conventional, beefcake images advertising men's apparel. It was presented as though it too was intended to promote clothing of a vaguely sporting nature - or as the page title says, 'Muscle Man Gear'. 

In reality it was referencing directly the underground culture of Motor Cycle Clubs which had developed as a hobby for young men after the Second World War and gradually became a haven, a cover, for anyone with fetish leanings. That association was not unknown to the public at large but was not particularly linked to homosexuality. In the coming years Tom of Finland would become inextricably linked to the golden age of gay Motor Cycle Clubs.

Dabbling in leather fetish was a natural extension of Royale's established Uniform and Corporal Punishment themes, but a more implicitly sexual one. 


Between them Royale and Dolphin had eight pictures in that issue, around 20% of the total pages and they continued to operate alongside each other in the months that followed.  

Royale also claimed the Tom of Finland series


Two months later, in October 1960, Royale laid their claim to ownership of Tom's 'Thieving Cowboy' as being "especially drawn for them" in an advert (shown above) in Tomorrow's Man Vol 8 No 11

According to De Simone Wayland (writing for the Bonham's Sale Catalogue in 2021), Royale commissioned the series from Tom in 1957 and it's dated as being drawn in 1958 in GMP's Tom of Finland Retrospective (Vol 1 p14). However I cannot find any trace of Royale advertising it prior to these two ads. They did advertise some artists in their 'stable' and included them in their 1960 catalogue, but not Tom of Finland. Maybe the claims of exclusivity related to publication in Britain. Whatever the case, there seems a sniff of competition and one-upmanship in the near-simultaneous release and wording of these two ads.


Significantly, in an undated order acknowledgement  included as ephemera in the British Photographers collection (Ref 1), John Parkhurst described himself as the Proprietor of Dolphin Photography with no mention of Clavering. Notice that he didn't adopt the Studio tag for Dolphin and in another subtle differentiation with the Royale brand he described his photo stories as 'playlets' instead of storyettes. 


We don't know the rationale behind the Dolphin-Royale differentiation. There's some evidence of a split in the leadership (60.6 above) but the material and the models continued to be shared much the same. It's a matter of conjecture whether this represented a parting of the ways, amicable or otherwise or was a practical device to rehabilitate the brand from it's reputation for attracting unwelcome interest from the authorities. 

According to a message sent to the 'British Photographers Group' (Source No 1) and reported at 'Tim In Vermont' (Source No 9): - 

"Basil was forced to finish due to his co-Directors, after he released a set of pics denoting two sailors supposedly whipping their white uniforms from each other which somehow "got out" and caused a huge rumpus". 

This is pure hearsay, but the set being described here is real enough. It's 'Whip Duel' starring Peter George and Ron Wiltshire (Archive set No 38, not yet on display at the time of writing). This was included in Royale's July 1959 Catalogue list (with the name 'Whip Fight') and was illustrated in a display advert in 'Man Alive' in August and October of that year. This timing is a plausible fit with the (breakaway?) launch of Dolphin in mid 1960 and might explain the puzzling continuation of the two studios in parallel until 1962. 

I'm not sure the somewhat vague causation for the split given in the quoted statement (if split it was) is entirely convincing. The violent imagery of the set is not much different to contemporary 'Sword and Sandal' movies but Basil did accompany it with a lurid description suggesting in was real. 

The 'rumpus' might have simply been an internal disagreement or, more seriously, it could have involved the Police raiding premises - Royale's or Magazines' or Retailers - and confiscating the offending material. As far as I know the Police didn't keep records of raids such as these, but there's no evidence of prosecutions either. 'Man Alive' continued it's usual print schedule in January 1960 with Royale material included and an advert that mentioned Whip Duel but did not illustrate it. The editorial does speak of 'seeing the back' of the old year but does not elaborate. On the other hand, if the Royale 'Directors' or their business associates were hauled in for questioning, with the risk of public branding and knock on effects on friends and associates, there might well have been a rumpus thereafter. There's no evidence of animosity, however, in the years that followed.

Equally interesting is the reference to co-Directors (plural). We know about John Parkhurst who set up Royale with Clavering and then founded Dolphin. Don Avard was reported as being involved too (see 58.2 above) but as a 'Director'? We don't know. If the quoted statement is accurate (which is a big 'if'), was there someone else involved? I can't help thinking of Scott of London who crops up time and time again in these articles.

Dolphin Photography and Man Alive magazine shared the same Address


The Man Alive 'Thieving Cowboy' advert (60.1) gave Dolphin's new address as 3, Golden Square. This is a garden square at the Regent Street & Piccadilly Circus end of Soho's Brewer Street. Interestingly, Man Alive, the magazine that carried that first ad also gave Golden Square as their publishing address, although they had been based elsewhere, at 10, St Martin's Court, for every previous issue. There's clearly a connection between the two events but it may simply have been a matter of convenience to share offices. Man Alive were supporters of Royale and they would have been in regular contact with each other about such plans. 


Curious Headline in Tomorrow's Man (Mar 1961)


Royale often used unconventional headlines in their ads, but the curious wording of this advertisement for Dolphin a few months later in March 1961 (Tomorrow's Man) is downright puzzling. Arguably it supplies more evidence of rivalry between Royale and it's new off-shoot. I've never heard of Dolphins being renowned for their happiness, larks yes, dolphins no. I suppose it's possibly related to some popular theme of the day or perhaps it's nothing to do with Royale, but a precursor to the unexplained name change that was to come about a few months later, see below. 

Dolphin Photography becomes Hussar Studio 1961


A year after it's launch, in August 1961, Trim were telling their readers that Dolphin Photography had changed it's name to Hussar Studio although the explanation given was somewhat vague.

Parallel Advertising for Hussar and Royale 1961


Royale and Hussar continued to advertise their 'Storyettes' and 'Playlets' alongside each other (literally!) This was in Body Beautiful No 15, around the end of 1961. Hussar have listed four new playlets here, three of which are still known to us. The flowery, literary copy boasts of their quality. Royale, by contrast, have used only a photo (which I have been unable to connect to a model or a storyette. It may possibly be part of a cowboy series from Don Avard's heyday). There seems a touch of frustration in the pushy Royale copy which is clearly trading on their reputation. 

 Towards the end, illustrations were regularly dropped from the ads and some were simply addresses, relying on images posted in the body of the magazine to attract interest. Hussar had a picture of Peter George featured in this issue but Royale wasn't represented at all. Royale had appeared in every issue of Body Beautiful up to No 12, with as many as six full pages at the peak but there was only one more after that - David Clarke in issue 19 (1962). 


more info on the dropping of illustrations (pending)



Tomorrow's Man, Directory of Physique Photographers (Jan 1962)

Both Hussar and Royale were still included as active businesses in the 'TM directory of Physique Photographers' published in the January 1962 issue of Tomorrow's Man.

The Hussar advert at the bottom of the page mentions a number of new 'playlets' all of which seem to have been  completely lost except 'Hold-Up'. (If any of my readers know differently I'd be delighted to hear from them)

Tomorrow's Man, Directory of Physique Photographers (Jun 1962)

Royale and Hussar were still both listed in the TM Directory in Jun 1962, which was nearly two years after Dolphin/Hussar had been set up. 

Just below you can see that Royale were still independently advertising their pictures and storyettes too. However this advert was identical to one that had already run in the February issue. That's not really a sign of a lively, thriving business and in fact I've not found any more ads for Royale after this.

It's perhaps worth remembering that Clavering was 52 years old at this point and he had full time job as a cinema manager. He seems to have been a confident, adventurous man but if there was repeated unpleasantness with the authorities, it would have tested his resources. We don't know exactly what surrounded the split between Royale and Dolphin, there's some evidence of rivalry, but he quite possibly found it too difficult to continue without his right hand man. It's possible his health was failing, since he eventually died only eleven years later without even reaching retirement age. Parkhurst on the other hand was only 35 in 1962, with many years in front of him and experienced enough to pick up the mantle.

After this Royale gradually began to disappear from the lists of active Photographers. Their last mention in Manual's list was Jun 62, the same date as their last ad. They lasted on Tomorrow's Man's list until December 1962. 



The page above is the latest studio list I have found where both Studios are still mentioned. It's from Modern Adonis No 22, probably around March 1963. 


This editorial in the following issue of Modern Adonis (No 23 around June 1963) could be seen as an obituary to Royale's memory although there is no specific mention of names, much less causes. Nor were any of Royale's photographs included in the issue. It's as if even the name had become taboo.



Hussar's advertisements continued to run until at least February 1964 (in Manual No 49).
This one featured Peter George's (1959!) PT Instructor set. 

So far I've not found any later ads for Hussar. Their last appearance in Tomorrow's Man's Directory of Physique Photographers was also in February 1964, which suggests that this was when they ceased trading, although 'Manual' continued to list them until Oct 1964.

We don't know what finally finished Hussar,
perhaps the loss of Clavering's flair for publicity after the split was too damaging.


Scan Magazine No 8 (ca. Jun 1964) chose to commemorate the demise of Hussar studio rather symbolically, provocatively even, by reviving this image of Tom Manlick (yes!) posing in half of a genuine Royal Horse Guard's Uniform and a chain-mail pouch. 

Male Classics Annual in 1964 included a lot of Royale/Hussar pictures but did not mention them in the list of contributors. 

Other magazines lamented that 'some people' could not accept increasing use of clothing and biker imagery, which of course was still 'disqualified' from the categories of health, body building and fashion which were permitted by the authorities for imagery in which men 'displayed' themselves.


1965 onwards


 The Male Classics 1965 Annual went further with an article discussing in academic-sounding terms the evolving use of clothing in physique photography with Royale/Hussar well represented. There was a striking double page spread with multiple snippets of examples almost entirely dedicated to them, but they weren't mentioned by name except via cryptic, coded credits. 

Male Classics 'tribute' spread

Click to Enlarge

This montage spread appeared in Male Classic Annual for 1965 without any explanatory text and seems to be a tribute to Royale. One that isn't Royale is 24 which is by Scott. I'm not sure either about 9, 13 and 20. These two pages feature snippets of many pictures that were previously unknown to me but I have tried to caption them as far as possible. If any reader can add to or correct my names, please add a comment to the foot of the post.

65.2 The Legacy

Some time later Royale material started turning up under the names of other photographers like Scott of London and Peter Dobing (further article link pending). Royale and Hussar images continued to appear in print in their own right for many years after, with Peter George's fetish, wader images still carrying carrying the flag in Drummer in 1988 and Dungeon Master in 1989 (see Peter George's Career). 

Tibor Noszgay by Hussar

This image of Tibor Noszgay (by Hussar/Royale though not attributed to them by name) appeared in Male Classics with a nostalgic commentary around the second half of 1967.
 Quite why their names were so deliberately not mentioned in the caption is a puzzle.


Royale and Hussar still refuse to die with exhibitions and new images turning up from time to time and astonishing prices being reached in sale rooms for surviving photographs. 

article produced by Mitchell for the mitchmen Royale Studio Open Archive

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Unapproved School is now complete


A scene from 'Unapproved School' by Royale Studio.

Fred Collins (left) and David Reid go on the run from brutal Guards.

The full set is now on display at the Archive. 

Read 'Unapproved School'

Friday, 28 July 2023

Stan Free caught moonlighting

Stan Free - Conbreef for Adams (1959)

 Some physique models branched out into advertising, Cliff Smith posed a lot for Domenique's clothing range and Fred Collins advertised shorts for Royale (not such a challenging task!). I stumbled across this ad with Stan Free looking very well-endowed in Man's World (Sept 1959). 
Support in those days was not about emotional crises.

This image has been added to Stan's folder at the mitchmen Royale Studio Open Archive 

Brian Lamprill - new set

  A set of images of Brian Lamprill posing for Lon of NY  with a hairy chest has been added to the gallery see  Brian Lamprill's index page