His name is synonymous with beauty, fashion and sex

His name is synonymous with beauty, fashion and sex. 

Photographer David Bailey was also the poster boy for a social revolution as working-class young men scaled Britain’s cultural citadels.

Now aged 82, he’s written his racy memoirs – part one was serialised in yesterday’s Daily Mail and we pick up his story in Part 2 here…

Marie Helvin posing for Bailey in 1977, two years into their marriage. He says she had ¿one of the best bodies¿ he has ever seen

Marie Helvin posing for Bailey in 1977, two years into their marriage.He says she had ‘one of the best bodies’ he has ever seen

John Lennon was once asked to describe my former girlfriend Penelope Tree in three words. He said: ‘Hot, hot, hot. Smart, smart, smart.’

I’d never heard of Penelope when Bea Miller, Vogue’s editor in London, called me in one day and said: ‘I want you to photograph this girl.She’s a society girl. Her father’s very important and I don’t want any of your hanky-panky, so leave her alone.’

It was about the worst thing she could have said to me. I wouldn’t have even looked at her, but that made me interested. 

That first shoot I did with Penelope, in 1967, there was something instant between us; it was obvious to us both.I realised that I had fallen in love with her pretty quickly.

But nothing could happen and nothing was said. I was having an affair with the model Sue Murray. I was still technically married to the French actress Catherine Deneuve. In looks and style she was way ahead of everyone, Penelope. 

She was a complete original.She was like a mixture of an Egyptian Jiminy Cricket and Bambi. Her legs went up to her neck.

Her father was Ronnie Tree, a Conservative MP and friend of Winston Churchill. They lived in one of the biggest private houses in New York, 123 East 79th Street. 

Her mother, Marietta, was a New York socialite and activist with powerful contacts in politics.She was also, as I discovered, the biggest bitch. Truly horrible.

Pictured: Penelope Tree photographed by David Bailey in Kashmir, 1969

Pictured: Penelope Tree photographed by David Bailey in Kashmir, 1969

In January 1968, when she was just 18 and I was 30, Penelope came to Paris for the fashion collections and that’s where our affair started. 

In April that year, I went to New York to get her and bring her back to London to live with me at my home in Primrose Hill.

Or maybe I abducted her, depending on whose version of the story you believe.When I rang the bell at 123 East 79th Street to get Penelope, her mother opened the door, saw me and immediately tried to slam it shut.

I jammed my foot in and said to her: ‘Don’t worry, it could be worse. It could be a Rolling Stone.’ I got on well with Ronnie, her dad.But he wanted Penelope to marry Lord Lichfield – Patrick, a photographer with an earldom.

When I first worked with Penelope, it was me and her. I think photography is all sex. I don’t say I slept with models like it’s a conquest; it’s just that’s what happens if you’re close to somebody – you end up in bed with them.

Penelope’s initiation into Primrose Hill was the shooting of one of my books of portraits, Goodbye Baby & Amen, which involved 160 or so of the people who more or less made up the Sixties coming to our house to be photographed: the actor Peter Ustinov, John Lennon, Christine Keeler, now out of prison after the Profumo Affair, and a little down on her luck, Brigitte Bardot, the photographer Bill Brandt – to name a random choice of opposites.

Our life in Primrose Hill was assisted by César, a Brazilian who’d been an ‘exotic’ dancer in Paris.Penelope had found him. She described him as the butler, as some kind of ironic memory of her father’s staff in New York.

César never cleared up or Delhi Escorts Service anything. One day he said to Penelope ‘You treat me like a servant’, and she, unable to resist it, replied: ‘But, César, you are.’

One of César’s tasks was to feed the parrots.I don’t know why I had 60 of them. You become a sort of collector, in a way. I had cockatoos, lovebirds, finches, rosellas, hyacinth macaws, the most beautiful of all.

The five years with Penelope were almost the most intense period of work in my career.I travelled with her across Europe to fashion shoots in my dark-blue Ferrari 275. We stayed in out-of-the-way places – little inns, villages. It was wonderful.

Around 1971, after we’d been together for about three years, Penelope’s luck changed.Her look, which was so distinctive, was no longer required. Fashion had moved on. 

I was told I couldn’t use her so much. And she had other problems. She had started to get fat. That was the beginning of the end of her career as a model.We were drifting apart anyway. 

She’d got involved with a bunch of hippy friends I didn’t like. In 1972, she was busted for possession of cocaine with these other scumbag friends. I probably got the blame for it from her mother.I wasn’t into drugs. I’ve never bought a drug in my life.

Not long after that, Penelope walked out. She left me, but I had left her, too. I was having an affair with the wife of a friend of mine, who came after me with a baseball bat. It was sad.I was madly in love with Penelope when she left, but it’s no good hanging on to something that’s not working.

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-95c38480-10d1-11eb-a2ab-1de050e67e64" website is all sex, writes DAVID BAILEY

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