Dress worn by Fiona Walker in THAT cheeky tennis picture to be auctioned


The most famous tennis dress in the world – worn by a model who posed for a cheeky picture which became one of the best-selling posters of all time is being auctioned.

The striking image of a female tennis player hitching up her short white dress to reveal her bare bottom became an iconic image when it appeared in 1976.

Now the dress which model Fiona Walker wore to create the shot is expected to fetch up to £2,000 when it goes under the hammer next Saturday.

Fiona, now 55, was an 18-year-old art student called Fiona Butler when she agreed to pose for her then boyfriend, a commercial photographer called Martin Elliott.

She borrowed the now-famous tennis dress and racket as well as her father’s white plimsolls for the picture which was taken on a court at Birmingham University.

The picture, showing Fiona ambling across a court strewn with tennis balls while she tenderly cups her left buttock with her hand, went on to sell millions around the world when it appeared on an Athena poster.

Speaking in 2011, Fiona revealed she was never paid for the image, but said she still remains “incredibly proud” of the picture.

The dress she borrowed from pal Carol Knotts is now being auctioned by Stourbridge-based Fieldings Auctioneers.

Carol, now a barrister in Gloucestershire, said: “I used to get a monthly allowance from my parents and, to make it stretch that little bit further, I made my own clothes.

“As I played tennis at the local club in Stourbridge, I bought a ‘Simplicity’ pattern and made my own dress, complete with lace trim.

“Fiona was a friend and one day asked if she could borrow my dress and racquet. When she returned them, she gave me a big box of chocolates as a thank you.

“I’ve had the dress tucked away in a cupboard all these years.

“It’s a little piece of tennis history and I hope someone might find it an interesting novelty item to buy.”

The dress will be auctioned on July 5, the same day as Wimbledon ladies’ finals day.

Auctioneer Nick Davies said: “A generation of people will remember this poster so it’s a good time to put it up for auction.

“This is the most famous tennis dress of all time, yet it has never graced Centre Court.

“It’s an unknown quantity in terms of value but we are sure will create plenty of interest.”

Elliot was an unknown 29-year-old commercial photographer when he took the shot that made Fiona famous – three years before the pair split up.

She was not officially paid for the shot but Elliot said later: “I looked after her.” He died in 2010, aged 63.

Fiona went on to marry company director Ian Walker and lives with him in Droitwich, Worcs.


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