Christabel Leighton-Porter (1913-2000)

I’ve been meaning to write a post on Christabel Leighton-Porter (1913-2000) for some time. Like Pamela Green, she became a life model in her late teens alongside a modest career in the theatre. She entered the occasional beauty contest, once winning the title of “Venus of Kent”. She was photographed several times by the one-time royal Photographer Bertram Park.

In 1932 in the Daily Mirror, the cartoonist Norman Pett (1891-1960) started a comic strip aimed at adults. It was called Jane’s Journal: The Diary of a Bright Young Thing. By 1938, however, it had become a flagging cartoon in desperate need of a reboot for which Christabel was the catalyst. Norman Pett came across her posing for an art class at the Birmingham Central School of Art. She was the very epitome of what the ‘new’ Jane ought to be. Christabel became Norman’s muse striking poses for Norman’s pen and pencil. The cartoon came out six days a week, four frames per strip, nearly all of them drawn from life. Scantily clad, clothes askew, skirts ripped and legs-akimbo, but never entirely naked it became “the strip the teased”.

Jane of the Daily Mirror poses nude
Christabel Leighton-Porter, aka Jane of the Daily Mirror, poses nude for the artist Norman Pett along with her dog Fritzi.

Jane first appeared completely nude in September 1944, Apparently, the day after the British 36th Division gained six miles (10 km) of enemy territory. She was worth two armoured divisions to the British Army – three if she lost her bra or pants.

Striptease poster.
Playbill for Paul raymond’s Festival of Strip-tease at the Empire Theatre in Nottingham.
Rare photo of Christabel Leighton-Porter on stage in Paul Raymond’s Festival of Strip-tease in Southampton, 20th March 1958. Photo courtesy of the John Bignell Collection.

The War gave Christabel the opportunity to tour the country on stage often billed as ‘Britain’s most perfect model’ or ‘Jane of the Daily Mirror’. The height of her stage career was the late ’40s early ’50s. She developed a professional relationship with impresario Paul Raymond of Revue Bar fame in 1947, helping him select and coach girls.

The comic strip continued till 1959 when Jane sailed into the sunset with her boyfriend, Georgie Porgie. After a few years in Bermuda, Christabel settled down to family life in Horsham, West Sussex.




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4 thoughts on “Christabel Leighton-Porter (1913-2000)

  1. Always so nice to read about and see these models and performers. So much has changed over the years. With all the images and videos we see now this is still good to look at. I enjoy old and new very much.

  2. She was a nude model for H&E in the late 1940s, with her photographers including Anthony Peacock, and ‘Starr’ at the very least. She certainly had appearances therein, in 1947, 1948 and 1949.

    I had always thought her a distinguished model; I had no idea that this was THE Jane! Thanks for helping me make that connection.

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