Coco de Mer boutique - 23 Monmouth St, Covent Garden WC2H 9DD, London
Luxury erotic boutique, Coco de Mer, will be stocking advance copies of my limited edition book, 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix', in time for Christmas. I have only just sent off the box of beautiful books, so give them a little time to magically appear in store.
For those of you who have not visited Coco de Mer, it is a beautiful boutique "for lovers, adventurers and dreamers". Amongst their collections are the most exquisite lingerie, masquerade, bespoke jewelry, perfumed candles, designer toys and bondage gear... and of course - delicious books.
Coco de Mer plays the role of erotic educator by hosting popular salon evenings, whose teachers include Max Absolute (aka Mistress Absolute), who incidentally is the subject of an artwork by Kate Peters, featured in my book. A few years back, I was indeed called for a rather unusual request at Coco de Mer. My friend Midori, who has her own book on 'The Seductive Art of Japanese Ropes Bondage', was having a last-minute crisis due to one of her planned models falling ill. She wanted me be her model, to demonstrate some of her "arts" to the audience of a salon catered unusually to men! I initially had a good chuckle at the subversive request, but decided why not - another great story for my grandchildren one day. (It was I have to say somewhat bemusing serving in this way as a model looked on by around 35 curious men while Midori "played" with me, but a fun time was had by all. Thank goodness for the preliminary glass of champagne to quell nervousness!)
Amongst Coco de Mer's book range is Betony Vernon's 'The Boudoir Bible' (in French La Bible du Boudoir - Guide du plaisir sans tabou). For those who don't know it, it's a delicious book, beautifully crafted and illustrated. Betony Vernon's interest in sexuality extends to her work as an acclaimed artisan designer of exquisite erotic jewelry, working in Milan and Paris.
I have had a few people asking about whether I will give a salon at Coco de Mer, sharing the erotic wisdom of the Dominatrix and her 'Realm Arts', her links to ancient Goddess religion, and the aristocratic activities of Georgian and Victorian England. My schedule is rather hectic up through Christmas, but I will speak with them and see if it may be possible to give a talk on my book and on the historical batten of erotic female wisdom, to schedule for sometime in the first half of 2014.
For those wishing to purchase a copy of my book (and indeed browse around), Coco de Mer is located conveniently in London's Covent Garden, at 23 Monmouth Street WC2H 9DD. With Christmas fast-approaching, they have conveniently late opening hours:
Monday to Wednesday: 11 am to 7 pm, Thursday: 11 am to 8 pm, Friday & Saturday: 11 am to 7 pm, Sunday: 12 pm to 6 pm
Website: http://www.coco-de-mer.com/ and phone: 0800 011 6895, of for their store phone 020 7836 8882.
(Please allow them some time to get the book up as I've only just sent the box off! Or phone ahead first to check!)
Glee Books in Sydney Australia November 11 2013
The advance copies arrive - photographs November 08 2013
'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' - designed by award-winning NZ book designer, Anna Egan-Reid.
With 'belly band' pronouncing first edition
After a bit of a hold-up in customs (and I'm sure the customs officers were enjoying the 'inspection'), I have just received a batch of advance copies of the book from my printer.
I'm sure my book designer Anna Egan-Reid must be thrilled with the result. Both Anna and myself have a background in art history and design, and thoroughly indulged our mutual appreciation of book craft on this project. People were worried about the cover from the graphic, and I was trying to explain "no, but the real thing will be gold leaf embossed, on a deep Phoenician purple, with a burgandy scarlet ribbon marker..." They couldn't picture it in their head the way we could. Now everyone can see it!
I believe Anna Egan-Reid plans to enter the book in the annual book design awards, with finalists announced next year. I wish her all the best and will keep my fingers crossed for her (not that she needs it).
The interior design, which you'll see photos of soon, drew inspiration from Henry Spencer Ashbee's 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum' (Index of Forbidden Books), with special fonts and red headings as conceived of by Anna Egan-Reid.
As mentioned earlier, it's turned out thicker than I imagined, with more full-colour illustrations of historic Dominatrices through the eras. We couldn't be happier. I've begun dispatching orders out of Singapore to those who have pre-ordered the book, so you will receive your book before the official launch!
I know everyone's dying to know the party details, which will have some colourful characters in attendance in London. I will update you soon...
For those wanting books for Christmas and as gifts - please place your order asap as there's a lag to get your book sent over from Singapore to your address in the UK (or anywhere else in the world for that matter)!
x Anne O Nomis
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...
Book fetishism for 'real books' (vs kindle) October 23 2013
@AnneONomis Aaarrrghhhhh. Stop teasing. So wanna read this book. Can't wait for the delivery :o) @AnneONomis Kindle is ok but there is nothing like the feel & smell of a new book :o)
(books) "..similarly kept underground, precious, material in their qualities, leafed touched and treasured."
The Seven Realm Arts - the craft practices of the Dominatrix October 19 2013
Book being printed in Singapore October 19 2013
BY ANNE O NOMIS
After quite a journey, and four years of research, my book is finally all coming together and currently being printed in Singapore. I want to thank everyone who has aided me with their help, both directly and holistically.
I have to say it was quite a mission tracing down the Dominatrix, and the women who practice one of the most discreet (and taboo) of occupations in the world.
It was a journey that led me back to artifacts and Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets documenting Dominatrix rituals, which seem to have been written or edited by the historical figure of Enheduanna (a high En-priestess and daughter of King Sargon). She is believed by most scholars to be the world’s first recorded author: a woman, a priestess, a poet. The hymns were written in honour of the Goddess Inanna (or Ishtar as she was known in Akkadian). Remarkably, we have a lunar stone disc of the en-priestess Enheduanna, with her image and and inscription on its reverse, excavated by archaeologists in the ancient city of Ur. The hymns she is believed to have written uphold the Dominatrix powers of the Goddess, and rituals involving gender transformation, pain, punishment and ecstasy. (There's even talk of a suspended net, entrapping those who do not show her suitable respect!)
Left: Lunar Disc of the High En-Priestess, Enheduanna, excavated from the ancient city of Ur
No less interesting was reading about the 17th – 19th Century Dominatrices, when they were known by other titles. The ‘Whipstress’, the Venus ‘School Mistress’, the ‘Governess’, and of course the female flagellant. These women counted aristocracy and even royalty amongst their clients, and invented ingenious methods and equipment to whip them. The wonderful ‘Berkley Horse’ device designed by Theresa Berkley is illustrated in the book, from Ashbee’s ‘Index Librorum Prohibitorum’, which enabled pain and punishment to be administered at the same time from either side...! Birches and whips of all kinds, a double height suspension rig, amongst the treatments given out.
Just how discreet these women were is evidenced by how hard the battle was to trace them down. It was only by pursuing 'forbidden books' in the British Library Rare Books collection that I was able to discover their names and stories, aided by flagellation prints in the British Museum and Library of Congress in Washington DC.
Left: Flagellation print from the Library of Congress, Washington DC
Into the 20th Century, the archival evidence to show their existence came in the form of rare and often dog-eared black-and-white and sepia images, early colour and polaroid photographs, and the second-hand stories passed on by their clients and acquaintances to fetish magazine editors. Were it not for their efforts in saving their images and stories, the history of the mid-20th Century Dominatrix would have disappeared, her stiletto footsteps lost in the sands of time. In London's underground, they had custom ‘bizarre’ outfits from John Sutcliffe (of ‘AtomAge’ fame), and would send in their well-to-do clients in for compulsory bizarre outfits and maid's costumes to serve them.
Left: London Dominatrix Miss Doreen, courtesy of David Jackson of DDI
In New York, the Mistresses succeeded in keeping a very low profile – except when dramatically raided by police acting with postal 'obscenity' officers and finding themselves splashed across the front pages of newspapers, as was the case with Monique Von Cleef in Newark New Jersey.
If walls could talk, we can only imagine the tales that the walls of The Hague's 'House of Pain' could tell, with all the politicians and ambassadors visiting in the capital of domination. While on the window displays of the Herbertstrasse, the alpha women dominated the strip and the men who took in their stare and the dare to enter their premises.
Lastly I had to consider what it was exactly that Dominatrices did…? Outside of the fold-all term of ‘BDSM’. After much consideration and thought, I have come up with her ‘Seven Realm Arts’; a theoretical framework of what it is a Dominatrix does, taking over the bodies and minds of her willing submissives, and leading them on a journey into depths many could not have imagined.
Left: Dominatrix Mistress Morrigan, in her London dungeon by artist Phil Miller
The book was a big ask, with nothing having ever been written before on the topic, and starting from zero. While it may be an imperfect record, and biases the Anglo-Saxon record (there is much to be done on the foreign language stories of France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and so on), I hope it will provide a valuable and worthy contribution to people’s understanding of the Dominatrix and her unique occupation and craft. It’s a book for the underground and for the libraries. So as such I’ve naturally ensured a beautiful format to please book fetishists and make for an enduring publication. It wasn’t easy getting permission from the world’s top museums to include all these photographs – from the British Museum, Iraq Museum, Penn Museum, Oriental Institute of Chicago, Fitzwilliam Museum of Cambridge, Library of Congress in the USA, British Library, Yale Center for British Art, National Portrait Gallery of London. I have big thanks to David Jackson of DDI Magazine and Bert Wibo of Massad for the rare vintage photographs of 20th Century Dominatrices, and to Mr J.B Rund for the rare John Willie image. To contemporary artists Natasha Gornik in Brooklyn New York, and to Kate Peters, Stuart Pearson Wright, Phil Miller, Nuit d’Or and Nathaniel Lucina, for the images of contemporary Dominatrices and their craft. The result features 86 beautiful and rare photographs, documenting the Dominatrix's history from her ancient roots, through the 17th - 19th era of the female flagellant Governesses, through to the 20th Century bizarre underground ladies, and the contemporary Dominatrix of the 21st Century.
Printed to the highest standards, it features a gold-embossed Phoenician purple cover, a quarter-bound fabric spine, with a red ribbon marker - making it an ideal gift. The first edition is limited to 2000 copies worldwide, individually numbered. Enjoy!
The image of contemporary domination October 06 2013
As well as examining the historic Dominatrix, 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' follows Her trail right up until the present day, with artwork and portraits by leading contemporary artists.
In New York city, a body of works by contemporary artist Natasha Gornik takes the viewer along for the experience of Mistress Alex taking her slave out for a walk in Times Square. As you can see from the below image (featured in the book), the man is in a business suit with a gimp hood, and held on a chain by the fetish-clad Mistress while she walks through Manhattan. As I argue, she is not only taking her slave out for her walk, but also taking a taboo for a walk. The reactions of the people around index exactly the issues at stake around the concept of female domination.
Artist Natasha Gornik ©
'Mistress Alex in Times Square, NY' (2013)
In New York, Dominatrices are very much part of the cultural geography of place, which as Manhattan Dominatrix Mistress Darcy notes, is one of the most ambitious cities in the world, in which men are working hard climbing the corporate ladder and need a respite from the environment and pressures. She shares with us the thrill for herself and her client of the first moment, when she opens the door of her discreet lair to meet her waiting submissive.
As many 'slaves' will relate, the door into the dungeon is like a gateway into another world. The book takes the reader into this alternate universe, usually known only to the Dominatrix and her slaves, examining the types of equipment and activities which feature as part of Her 'sessions'. Contemporary photographer Phil Miller offers a peak into Mistress Morrigan's black dungeon with rotating bondage wheel, and glimpses of the 'Lady's Lair' dungeon near Kings Cross. Other London Dominatrices feature in the book as part of a body of portraits by well-regarded artist Kate Peters, whose 'Yes Mistress' series made newspapers around the world, featuring Mistress Absolute, Madame Caramel and Mistress Jezabel - who regularly make appearances out within London's buzzing fetish scene, as well as within their dungeons dominating their slaves.
Artist Kate Peters 'Portrait of Mistress Absolute'
Limited edition C type hand print. (Image © Kate Peters / Institute)
Many will be suprised to learn of the training which is involved to become a professional Dominatrix, which is typically 1-2 years. In some places, such as Australia, training is usually by apprenticeship undertaken within one of the large houses. One of the most famous of these was Salon Kitty's, a major institution for training Mistresses for nearly three decades. Some of the Dominatrices who used the establishment as a springboard for their development was Mistress Tokyo (now with her own establishment in Sydney specializing in rubber and Japanese ropes bondage), and Domina V (now based in Brighton UK where she offers 'a safe place for sissies'). Down in Adelaide, South Australia, Mistress Electra Amore discusses the two year training programme for apprentices at Fetish Palace.
One of the accomplishments of the book is to identify what it is that Dominatrices actually do in their sessions, in a manner more coherent than the catch-all phrase of 'BDSM'. Featuring artwork by Lucina Nathanel and Nuit d'Or of their own intimate collaboration, and Natasha Gornik's recorded experience of Domme Jaguar with couple, the book provides a highly personal interpretation of the Dominatrices' 'Seven Realm Arts'.
The famous red dungeon room of the former Salon Kitty's ©
Sydney, Australia (run by Mistress Amanda Dwyer)
The History & Arts of the Dominatrix features across 5 pages in the World Edition of DDI magazine! October 05 2013
DDI Magazine Worldwide Edition (2013) Issue # 77
with article on the book 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix'
The premiere publication dedicated to professional Dominatrices, 'DDI' magazine, features a substantial article in its current issue on my book. Across five pages, it gives its readers a taste of the book's content. I discuss how I came to write this unique publication, the first of its kind on 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix'.
The book was inspired by the Melbourne Dominatrices whose stiletto heels clicked down footpaths in confident strides, within the leafy inner-city suburb of Fitzroy. I came to meet these ladies at a birthday party, a night fuelled by 'dirty Russian martinis'. They were intelligent, articulate and compelling women, with an open-minded and independent perspective on the world,- any one of whom you would love to enliven a dinner party. Strangely there was no book on their history, I discovered, of how long the Dominatrix been around. What was the story of her history? And what was the nature of her craft practices?
In the dungeons of Fitzroy, Melbourne, I undertook research to answer exactly these questions. From Melbourne to London and into the vaults of the British Museum and British Library, to museums all over the world, and vintage photographs and stories of 'slaves' and from the Dominatrices themselves, I learnt about their secret world and history.
I am delighted that DDI magazine is the first publication to break news of this book. They have long been the most important publication on the Dominatrix, not only promoting professional Dominatrices but also publishing a unique archive called 'The Domina Files' - of historical women who formerly practiced the profession, with information and rare vintage photographs. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the magazine's editor, David Jackson, for sharing this knowledge with me (and the world), and allowing me to reproduce some of the rare images within my book. It was my intent that the book not only enrich the public's knowledge and library collections, but also provide the Dominatrices themselves with history on their own craft's profession, and pay tribute to their intuition, beauty, knowledge, techniques and craft which they bring to bear on their 'sessions' and 'play'.
To the Dominatrices themselves out there - I hope this book does your story justice.
x Anne O Nomis
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