Great review from Library Journal - recommending 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' March 01 2014


Anticipation of a book review from Library Journal was first sparked by this blog entry from their website, on Library Journal staffers' current reads: 

Ashleigh Williams, Bookroom Assistant, LJ
My current obsession is The History & Arts of the Dominatrix, self-published by elusive author Anne O. Nomis. Rife with facts, statistics, and exclusive images, this book has kept me enthralled from start to (almost) finish. The accompanying photos of the classic “dom” as she evolves over time are just one of the many highlights. I’m having far too much fun making people uncomfortable on subways and in coffee shops once again!"


A few weeks on, the much-awaited review has just been posted on Library Journal - Reviews, officially out on March 15th (Library Journal).

'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix'

(Author) Nomis, Anne O

ISBN 9780992701000

Elusive author Nomis sheds light on a mysterious underground world in this fascinating exploration of female dominatrices. Beginning with the ancient worship of dominatrix goddesses as early as 7400 BCE, she continues through secular domination practices in 17th- to 19th-century England (such as flogging houses), which were spurred by the rise of patriarchal monotheistic religions and schoolhouse corporal punishment. Nomis explains that the characteristic fetish "style" did not appear until the late 1950s, when the dominatrix herself truly carved out her niche as an erotic icon. She concludes with seven "realms" of the art of domination, discussing the nuanced dynamics of dominant/submissive relationships and fetishism in general. This book might not contain a slew of new observations for those well versed in sexuality studies, but the unconventional analysis reinvigorates even the most familiar concepts. It is obvious that Nomis dedicated years of research to compile an engaging, sympathetic history of a well-concealed subculture. The book provides exciting commentary on shifting attitudes toward sex, female power, and female sexuality across different time periods and regions, complete with dazzling visual aids and artifacts. VERDICT Recommended for collections with high demand for sociology and anthropology titles, particularly on the subjects of gender and sexuality.

(Review by Ashleigh Williams, Library JournalLibrary Journal Booksmack! LJXpress Prepub School Library Journal Horn Book Guide Horn Book Magazine Junior Library Guild)

Reviewed on MARCH 15, 2014  |  Social Sciences

A room with a view... if she is to write February 25 2014

Room in Hanoi where I wrote
'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix'


Virginia Woolf famously noted that "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write...". Woolf was referring to fiction, although I think the same applies of non-fiction. Space, glorious space to oneself. Natural light to bolt the body's circadian rhythms into action each morning. And, I would add, a local dealer or supply of caffeine drug. 


Having undertaken the research for my book in museums, libraries and dungeons of the world; predominantly Australia, the UK and the USA, I decided to go to Hanoi to finish up the writing of my book, over a 3 month period. Why Hanoi? The considerations were threefold. I hadn't had a proper Summer in years, with my European summers usually cut into by the annual visa pilgrimage back to the Southern hemisphere Antipodes and into Winter, meaning I only got about a month of Summer for four years running. So criteria 1, was somewhere that would be warm and sunny in April. Secondly it had to be somewhere "cheap and cheerful", where I could afford to be off work for 3 months, with inexpensive accommodation. And lastly, I wanted to be somewhere exotic that I hadn't been to before, with healthy and nourishing food. I settled on Vietnam, and in particular the French colonial flavoured city of Hanoi in the North. 


Street scene in Old Quarter of Hanoi 

I booked a cheap 2 star hotel in the old quarter which had cheery reviews on Trip Advisor. And I flew off into the exotic unknown with relative confidence. It was a great trip. I achieved exactly what I set out to do, finishing up my book. Breakfasts of fresh fruit, cheese, toast, and fabulous coffee. Who knew Vietnam had such amazing coffee?? Amongst the best I've had in the world, with selections of coffees that are passed through the bodies of animals such as civets, to come out the other end in their feces, with the beans processed and sterilized to make the world's best coffee. So thanks to 'shit coffee', warm weather, light, and friendly people, I had the perfect environment to finish off my book. 


I write this as I prepare to depart to another location to write my second book,- the island of Cyprus. I am due to leave in just over 2 weeks time, to undertake final research and writing of 'Flight of the Goddess'. I've begun packing, and my suitcase is already half-full of articles, books and reference material.

The island of Cyprus, where I will be based to research and write my
second non-fiction book, 'Flight of the Goddess'.

Online reviews... January 30 2014

As I wait on the official review from the Library Journal Book Review in the USA, various reviews have been cropping up on blog sites all over the place. 

Here's one of the latest, which is a very thorough and balanced review:

 'Domme de Plume' (A review of 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix) at Nuts4R2

Update: Another brand new blog review has gone up at Her Majesty's Plaything

There are also reviews up on Amazon UK and 


'Uncovering the History of the Dominatrix' - Talk at Freud Museum, Sunday 9th February at 5.30 pm January 23 2014

On Sunday 9th February 2014 at 5.30 pm, I will be giving a talk on 'Uncovering the history of the Dominatrix' at the Freud Museum in London.


Freud's famous couch at the Freud Museum


I share Freud's love of archaeology, of digging into the psyche, and the past. I have discussed my research as a kind of "journey into the Underworld". It came about during my father's decline and imminent death from a rare form of cancer, and the appeal of the dungeon was of that of an 'otherworld realm', offering insight into matters of submission, suffering, accceptance, and people's deepest desires. 

And it was literally from the underground where much of my material came from. The excavated artifacts of cuneiform tablets and figurines to the Goddess Inanna (Ishtar) in ancient Mesopotamia, votives of Artemis Orthia on Sparta, and from the formerly buried Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii with its Whipstress figure. From museum storage and library vaults of the British Library 'Rare Books' collection, and 'forbidden books' called up from the deep for me to view under security camera, fragile and rare. And from within darkened and often lower-ground basement dungeons of Dominatrices, I gathered the formerly unexamined knowledge into their practices.   


Freud's collection includes Goddess figurines from the Levant and Mediterranean, including the Goddesses of sexuality, Astarte and Aphrodite. 


Were Freud around today, I'm sure he would have a lot to say about the contents of my book and the Dominatrix who who taps into suppressed desires, providing a safe space to her clients and offering 'play' within the psycho-sexual realm:

"The Dominatrix operates along civilization's fault lines, where its floating crust drops into a bubbling magma of underground desire. A chaotic and flowing heat, which we seek to suppress within our society and within ourselves, frightened by its power and potentially destructive properties. (We paint it as Dante's Inferno, a fiery hell, we rightly fear to tread.)

We need, however, an amount of heat, gases and minerals to be brought to the surface we inhabit. And indeed the Dominatrix taps into this word of suppressed desires and identities, relieving its pressures. She not only plays out fantasy, but raises jewels on self-knowledge, suffering, ecstasy, acceptance, mercy and wisdom." (Exert from Anne O Nomis 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' 2013, pp.24-25)



I will be giving a one hour talk, presenting artwork and historical material from my recently published book by Powerpoint presentation. This will mainly focus on: 

- The Ancient Dominatrix Goddess & Her Priestess Initiates

Examining the Dominatrix as archetype of female sexual power, and iconographical representations of ancient Goddesses such as Cybele, Inanna / Ishtar, the 'Mistress of Animals' motif, Artemis Orthia, and Dominatrix rituals known from ritual texts and hymns. Brought together for the first time in my book, these include hymns which present Inanna as the all-powerful Goddess who makes men and Gods bow down in subservience to her, and performs rituals involving cross-dressing, punishment, pain and ecstasy, and games using a 'keppu' (which I postulate may be a whip). 



Left: Votive artifact from Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, Sparta, where male adolescents were whipped in honour of the Goddess. (late 6th-early 5th Century BC); Right: Whipstress with wings on wall fresco of the Villa of Mysteries, Pompeii. (pre 79 AD)


- The Female Flagellant Governesses of the 17th - 19th Century

Examining the secular profession of the Dominatrix as it emerges in surviving texts and prints, and which in England was more particularly absorbed with the female disciplinarian figure in various roles (as School-Mistress, Governess, Kept Mistress etc), and around which an entire craft of psycho-sexual expertise was developed. Much of the information comes from rare books including the Victorian erotomaniac Henry Spencer Ashbee's volume 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum' or Index of Forbidden Books, and a preface written by Mary Wilson in 'The Venus School-Mistress'.


Left: Flagellation engraving of English origin from Library of Congress (1752); Right: Erotic flagellation scene from frontispiece to 'The Use of Flogging in Veneral Affairs' in reprint edition by Edmund Curll (1718)   

The Dominatrix creates a special playspace as an 'otherworld realm'. It is variably a workshop and playroom of the Dominatrix's toys, a theatre of transformative performance, a school-room of female discipline, a medical room of bodily operation, a feminine boudoir of dress and gender rituals, and most ubiquitously - a subterranean dungeon chamber of torture and release. 

The Dominatrix and her domain have many riches to offer to the field human desire, brought up from the forbidden deep.  


'Uncovering the history of the Dominatrix' talk by Anne O Nomis

Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, NW3 5SX, London

Tickets ₤15 per person, available from:

(Also option to purchase an autographed first edition book with ticket as part of a package)

For the design geeks - the making of a modern 'forbidden book' January 20 2014

As I was undertaking research in the British Library 'Rare Books' department, I sought out in particular one very special book. That was the manuscript copy of the Victorian 'erotomaniac' Henry Spencer Ashbee, a book he called 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum', or 'Index of Forbidden Books' (1877).

It included some of the most important passages on the Dominatrices of the preceding era, then known as Governesses or 'female flagellants'. I had to get special written permission from the curators of the British Library, with a time allocated to view, for which the book was drawn up from the deep, to be collected from the room's long desk, like an altar. I had to view it under video camera surveillance, and handle it with extreme care due to its fragility.

The book itself is beautifully produced to Ashbee's specifications, with scarlet red headings. It evokes the history of the 'forbidden books' which circulated between friends in Georgian and Victorian times.

So, when it came to designing 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix', I managed to actually locate a rare copy of Ashbee's 1877 volume for inspiration, from an antiquarian book dealer. I arranged to courier the book over to New Zealand as a gift, to the offices of Anna Egan-Reid, book designer extraordinaire. Where she drew inspiration from its features; a nod to the historical format, while ensuring it retained a strongly contemporary feel.

Anna Egan-Reid has won awards for her book design, formerly while at Penguin Books, and now she works for her family-run company (with sister Sophia, and mother Mary Egan). You can see some of the features of 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' below:

* Gold leaf Victorian frame

* Belly band extolling limited first edition

* Scarlet ribbon marker

* Scarlet red headings

* Specially chosen typographic fonts (read Anna's blog below for her 'eureka' moment)

* Dominatrix 'props' discreetly positioned in four corners of the frame




 Detail images of 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' by Anne O Nomis

(Images courtesy of Anna Egan-Reid, of Mary Egan Publishing)


For design geeks (and we put ourselves in that group, Anna and I), you can read Anna Egan-Reid's own blog entry 'How We Whipped the Dominatrix Into Shape':

Happy readers in university libraries and other contexts! January 17 2014

It's always lovely to get feedback from happy readers. I've been receiving emails from people all around the world thanking me for putting together all the research on the Dominatrix for the first time into a book. 

I received this wonderful photograph today from renowned Dominatrix, Madame Caramel. Yes, that's 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' book on her luscious lap, while she receives a foot massage from one of her subjects!


Photograph courtesy of Madame Caramel


Meanwhile 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' has found its way onto university reading lists, and is zipping its way around the world. It's one of the only scholarly books ever written on the subject of the Dominatrix, and I've had orders from a number of colleges, libraries and universities. I've been very careful to reference all my sources, and present it in a way that is suitable for students and professors, and illustrated with historical images through the ages.

I think my book babies must be very happy. For it's not many books who can claim their place in the most auspicious libraries of the world AND the dungeons (and laps) of world-famous Dominatrices.  



Library at University College London (UCL)


The History & Arts of the Dominatrix now available digitally ...on kindle, itunes, etc January 07 2014


'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' is available digitally as an e-book on all your personal devices including Amazon kindle, and Apple itunes and from Waterstones, and other online booksellers around the world.


Kate Peters "Yes Mistress" art exhibition in Hoxton December 03 2013

The calm before the storm, at the Kate Peters "Yes Mistress" exhibition,

Photographer and artist Kate Peters hosted her "Yes Mistress" exhibition at Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton, on the 29th November. I was invited to preview advance copies of my just-published book, "The History & Arts of the Dominatrix" at the exhibition night itself, and give a gallery talk.

It was a great turn-out, which saw upstairs and downstairs completely packed out with barely enough room to move. So many people were there that we had to give two talks, one upstairs and one downstairs! The attendees were an eclectic mix of art aficionados, photography enthusiasts, Dominatrices and even an assigned French maid and formal butler in attendance. Add wine, stir, and let the fun begin!

Kate Peters' star is ever-rising as an acclaimed artist photographer. She is represented by Institute, and has been finalist and winner of major photography awards, exhibiting in New York, London, Paris and Toronto, and held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. You may have seen her work in magazines and newspaper commissions from around the world, including the front cover of Time Magazine's image of Julian Assange was a portrait taken by Kate Peters. 


Artist photographer Kate Peters (who is shy of the limelight). Her portrait of Miss Deviant appears on the wall.  

Kate and I have strangely parallel journeys into the subject of the Dominatrix, albeit her's in photographic medium, and my own as author and historian. Back in around 2009, Kate had been planning a series of mis-en-scene of rooms after encounters, with archaeological traces if you will. She attended the "Night of the Senses" where she had an encounter with a Dominatrix, whom she photographed, providing such rich material that it began a series "Yes Mistress" on the underground world of the Dominatrices, their slaves and sissies, and dungeons as both workspace and theatrical stage space for playing out fantasies.

My own journey began also in 2009, but in Melbourne, Australia, where the carpark of the design showroom I managed for my work backed out opposite a large dungeon establishment within a discreet Victorian villa, housing a dozen Dominatrices. Stiletto heels clicked down footpaths in confident strides, and the local bars had cocktails which nodded to the Dominatrix clientele, with names like "red stiletto" and "the Mistress". I met some of these ladies out at a birthday party, whose normal dayjobs included being a police and court translator who spoke 7 languages, a permaculture expert, a Chinese medicine doctor, an early childhood educator, and who in their evenings enjoyed whipping men for pay. (Amongst of course a myriad other activiites). I was fascinated, shocked, intrigued and curious, and so began my own journey into the underground world of the Dominatrices, and of the valuts of history and archaeology tracing their path through the ages.


Preview of advance copies of my book, featuring Kate Peters' iconical portraits of London Dominatrices.


Giving a gallery talk on Kate and I's respective parallel journeys into the underground world of Dominatrices.

Kate and my own paths fatalistically crossed around six months ago, while I was in sabbatical in Hanoi, Vietnam, finishing up work on my book. Despite publishers trying to put me off colour illustrations, I had decided to push ahead and tell the story of the Dominatrix with the art, gathered from each era, portraits of the women and relevant material from the museums, libraries and galleries around the world. I had heard about Kate's work on the topic of Dominatrices, and contacted her for inclusion in my book. She enthusiastically agreed, and I feature three major iconical portraits by Kate Peters in my book, "The History & Arts of the Dominatrix".

We came together again for the exhibition, meeting in real life after my arrival back in London, and with the support of Madame Caramel's "Erotic Art Collective" which aims to showcase artists working on the rich themes of sexuality, creativity and BDSM.

Involved in the collaboration for the night was Kate Peters and myself, London Dominatrix "Miss Deviant" (whose own portrait also featured on the walls, holding a slave in tow), Miss Talia, and the organizational skills of Madame Caramel from the Erotic Art Collective. Not to mention the wonderful Montse Gallego who runs Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton.

Thank you to all who attended and contributed to such a great night! 



Two attendees with "The History & Arts of the Dominatrix" book at Kate Peters' exhibition.

Coco de Mer boutique with advance copies of 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' November 27 2013

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: 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

Glee Books store in Sydney Australia
An order of books has just arrived (updated!) in Sydney's leading independent bookstore, Glee Books, at 49 Glebe Point Road. I will try and get to Sydney for an author's talk at some time around mid next year.
Glee books in something of an institution in Sydney, synonymous with literary events. They offer the chance to 'experience' the wonderful tactile qualities of books, to be picked up, held, leafed and chosen. To hear authors speak about their books, and obtain insight into their process and concerns. To be introduced to new titles recommended and curated by the knowledgeable staff. There's a special feeling one gets from wandering through a bookstore and selecting books to take home and read, that will never be rivaled by Amazon, for all its convenience. 
Glee Books are open long hours (9 am - 7 pm on Sunday to Wednesday, and 9 am - 9 pm on Thursday to Saturday, which suits a post-cafe visit.) Their details are as follows:
Glee Books, 49 Glebe Point Road, Sydney 2037. Tel +61 2 9660 2333 Website:

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

Award-winning book designer Anna Egan-Reid's cover design for the book, with gold-foil embossing 
(It's not yet been trimmed, or assembled onto hardback with its black fabric quarter-bound spine,
but it's already beginning to look beautiful with the deep Phoenician purple, gold & plum band.)
I had an interesting twitter exchange yesterday with one Dominatrix, who on hearing news on more of the book's content, tweets:

Aaarrrghhhhh. Stop teasing. So wanna read this book. Can't wait for the delivery :o)

The book is presently 'on schedule', and expected to be complete in some 3 weeks. For those who have pre-ordered, they should happily receive their book before Christmas. And the kindle version should also be out very soon. To which she tweets:

Kindle is ok but there is nothing like the feel & smell of a new book :o)

I couldn't agree more! Sigh. One of the points I preface in 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' book, is how my experience of travelling from a nearby dungeon to the British Library Rare Books rooms, emphasized for me the fetish qualities of their volumes of 'forbidden books'. 

(books) "..similarly kept underground, precious, material in their qualities, leafed touched and treasured."

I became something of a book fetishist, converted to the religion practised in the book temple which is the British Library. There is something about a beautiful book, just as Miss Deviant notes, its feel and smell, which is very special. In the publishing of this book, the idea of 'book fetish' has been thoroughly indulged. With gold foil embossed lettering on this deep Phoenician purple. (The term 'Phoenician' comes from the name of the ancient sea traders in purple made from crushed murex shells, the most expensive colour used to make clothing of royalty.) A black quarter-bound buckram spine for binding. The decorative flourishes of head and tail bands in burgandy, which are the little woven pieces at the top and bottom of the spine, which originate from a tradition established to stop bugs and dust getting in the animal glue spine, but have become a beautiful feature of a book's materiality and construction. A scarlet red ribbon marker to use as a place holder and bookmark, and rich black end papers encasing the fleshy white interior with full-colour illustrations. 
In the age of kindle, we are offered almost instant access, and immediate gratification. No longer do we have to order a book and wait for it to arrive. At the press of a button, we have it on screen in front of us, and cheaper than the physical product. It doesn't take up any room in our house. It's easily transported with us, on the tube, away on holiday. The kindle devices fits in a large pocket or compartment of a handbag. It certainly has its advantages, providing us access and portability, BUT it loses something special compared to the 'real book'. As Anna wrote to me: "Keep in mind that the ebook won't look anything like the printed version. Ebook technology is very limited at the moment, so fonts will change, the margins won't be as generous and there is less control around where the images are placed. Unfortunately the files have to remain quite basic to cater for the fact that ebooks can be read on many different devices and the reader can control font size etc. A sad reality that I have to deal with as a designer!"
If you're comparing the kindle to the book from an aesthetic (and fetish) perspective, the 'real book' wins hands down. Particularly in this instance, when the book craft qualities have been so lavishly indulged to produce a special volume of such beauty. I admire also the traits of 'Folio Society Books', who similarly take pride in the book craft, often with buckram binding, to create books that you want to treasure.
This book was always intended to be important for libraries (and already touted as the 'seminal' work on the subject of the Dominatrix's history and craft). With all its artwork illustrations, from the ancient world and archaeology, from historical prints and paintings, from vintage photographs, it very much a collector's format. It also considered the bookcases, bedside and coffee tables of those who purchased it.
Some people will want the instant kindle download, for its portability, discretion, immediacy of download once available. But for those who love 'real books', then the limited first edition book will be most delicious and satisfying.   

The Seven Realm Arts - the craft practices of the Dominatrix October 19 2013

One of the proudest achievements of the book is putting in place a helpful framework of the Dominatrix's practices - something never before undertaken. Rather than the murky all-encompassing lump of 'BDSM', this chapter of the book attempts a much more cohesive analysis of the Dominatrix's craft activities, as they pertain to her clients and sessions, as the 'SEVEN REALM ARTS':
Realm 1 - The Art of the Sublime & Powerful Woman
Realm 2 - The Art of lowering the man to submission
Realm 3 - The Art of bondage, entrapment and enclosure
Realm 4 - The Art of discipline, training and punishment
Realm 5 - The Art of the bodily and the 'out-of-body'
Realm 6 - The Art of cross-dressing, transformation and gender subversion
Realm 7 - The Art of fetish and fantasy 
Artist Lucina Nathanel 'Heel' (2011)
Limited edition photographic print 
This theoretic model, derived from the professional practice of Dominatrices , will help demystify the Dominatrix's craft specializations, for those interested in understanding the realms of bondage and fetish activities.
Formerly the names who loomed large in this field have been Richard von Craft-Ebing and Sigmund Freud, who pathologized and diagnosed fetish from a psychiatric setting, typically in relation to those seeking psychiatric help. What they weren't exposed to was the thousands of people for whom fetish forms a part of their everyday private arousal and delight. This section takes the subject from the craft areas in which the Dominatrix specializes to meet the private desires and psychological nuances of her clients - as submissives, fetishists, cross-dressers, sissies and slaves.  
This provides a fresh perspective on the rich diversity of human sexuality, from the knowledge of the erotic arts, rather than the diagnostic subdivisions of DSM-IV or DSM-V.

Book being printed in Singapore October 19 2013


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