Thursday 12 December 2019

'Tennis Girl' dress from iconic poster sells at auction, obliterating expectations

Athena poster was released in 1970s and immediately became hit

Iconic image/Athena poster
Iconic image/Athena poster

The iconic dress worn by an 18-year-old student in the 1970s poster known as ‘Tennis Girl’ has been sold at auction for £15,500 (€19,600).

The white garment, sold alongside the tennis racket that also features in the photograph, went under the hammer this morning at Fieldings Auctioneers in the West Midlands.

The items were sold along with a 1979 poster and a limited edition canvas print – with the lot previously valued at £1,000-2,000.

It smashed its estimates with telephone and room bids outdoing one another, until the final bid from an anonymous buyer on the phone was crowned the winner, the auctioneers confirmed to the London Independent.

The infamous poster has graced the bedroom walls of teenagers and tennis fans since it was released in 1977 as part of an Athena calendar.

Model Fiona Walker (née Butler) was photographed by her then boyfriend Martin Elliot at the University of Birmingham in 1976 and the snap became one of the most widely recognised sports images of all time.

The dress had been made by Ms Walker’s friend Carol Knotts, who put it up for sale. She told the BBC last month: "I've had the dress tucked away in a cupboard for all those years. It's a little piece of tennis history and I hope someone might find it an interesting novelty item to buy."

The lot was auctioned on the day of the women’s singles final at Wimbledon.

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