Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chloe's Candle: Illustration by Brad Holland

We have featured the illustrations of American artist Brad Holland before here and here.  Today we have another of his sensuously erotic illustrations from the May 1980 issue of Playboy.  As ever, it's the (literal) little touches like the man's wandering fingers that make it so effective.

Anne Churchill, Countess of Sunderland by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)

This illustration, from Playboy's Ribald Rhymes feature of traditional erotic stories, is from a poem from 1701 written by a member of the Kit-Kat Club in London.  A gentleman's club with strong political and literary associations.  The name probably came from the owner, Christopher (Kit) Catt, of the tavern in Shire Lane where the club first met.  Support for the politics of the Whig party (which eventually largely merged with the Liberals) was not the only thing that concerned them.  They also had a tradition of offering toasts at their dinners to famous beauties of the day, such as the four daughters of John Churchill, the First Duke of Marlborough: Lady Godolphin, Lady Sunderland, Lady Bridgewater, and Lady Monthermer.  Many of these women had been painted by Kit-Kat Club member Sir Godfrey Kneller, who also produced a series of portraits of the members.

Other members of the club included writers such as Sir Richard Steele, Matthew Prior, William Congreve, Sir John Vanbrugh (who as an architect designed the Duke of Marlborough's home, Blenheim Palace) and Joseph Addison. It is quite possible that one of these penned the poem Chloe's Candle.

The poem tells of a shepherd, Strephon, who discovers a large candle on his girlfriend, Chloe's, nightstand and picks it up to have a look at it.

But when more near this utensil he viewed,
Which as he held it like a truncheon shewed,
He soon discovered the fair wanton's crime,
For on its sides there hung a lucid slime,
Brown curling hair, which in the furious joy,
The Melting tallow plucked unfelt away,

Upset that Chloe was using the candle as a dildo he confronts her when she returns to her room and points out that the inanimate candle cannot possibly give the love, ardor and satisfaction that he can.

With that he seized her, panting, in his arms,
Greedy of tasting the forbidden charms,
Swift through the curling brake, his pintle drove,
To seek among dark shade the springs of love,
With ease he pierced the sacred gloomy shade,
Through the same passage which the candle made,

Chloe excited by being ravished by her lover

With arms and legs embraced the amorous swain,
Cried, Oh my dear!" then spent and died again.

Thus she feels ecstasies unknown before, 
Resolved to use the tallow tool no more,
And finding from a prick such true delight,
Leaves the dull taper to supply the night,
Thus he fucks on with many a vigorous thrust,
Blest by the nymph, though by the candle curst.


  1. Makes me think of the "Kit Kat Klub" in the musical 'Cabaret.'

    1. Maybe I need to find some pictures of inter-war German women!

  2. Sory for my poor english… bat, at the last verse, isn't it "though by the candle crust" ?
    Charming poetry. Thanks.

    1. No, it's an archaic way of writing "cursed". That is, the candle is unhappy as he no longer serves his penetrative purpose and has been ousted by the man.