Those naughty parliamentarian schoolboys... October 26 2013


English 'Flagellation' print now held in the collection of the Library of Congress, Washington DC


The second chapter of the book 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix', looks at the profession within the 17th - 19th Century, when specialist discipline houses were written about in underground books. The women who ran these establishments were known by the title of 'School-Mistress' or 'Governess' (said with a wink). This disguised their profession (for discretion), and also referred to their female authority role as disciplinarian, punishing 'naughty schoolboys'.

Of course these naughty schoolboys included some of the highest names in the land - nobility, parliamentarians and even a particular English king (guess whom) - was a noted client of Governess Mrs Collett.

The book presents original extracts gathered from 'forbidden books' of the era, which were discreetly passed around amongst friends, and sold from underneath-the-counter or by mail-order, and now located in the British Library 'Rare Books'. Alongside these are wonderful prints from the era, including the oldest erotic print in the British Museum collection which is reproduced with permissions of the British Museum Trustees (with thanks!). The chapter reveals the clever self-marketing of the birch disciplinarians, who were painted by some of the most famous portrait artists in the land, and whose names appear in a remarkable book of roleplay scenarios veiled as lectures or theatrical plays.

To the French, the love of flagellation was described as 'le vice anglais' (the English vice). Its popularity soared and by the beginning of the 19th Century there were 20 sumptuous establishments in London alone. Amongst the Governesses, one of the most famed was Theresa Berkley, who designed her own machine for whipping, reproduced in this book. Its use is also described in vivid description, along with the rest of Berkley's set-up.

Just what was in store for these naughty boys (or 'cullies' - the historic name used for lovers of a whipping) who visited Berkley or another Governess? All shall be revealed...