The Lady puts Tracey Emin on the cover

LONDON - The Lady, the weekly "journal for gentlewomen", is certain to raise a few eyebrows amongst its old guard of readers with its choice of cover girl this week.

The Lady: Trace Emin graces the magazine cover
The Lady: Trace Emin graces the magazine cover

Tracey Emin, the controversial artist whose most famous works include a menstrual blood-stained bed and an appliquéd tent entitled 'Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-95', graces the front of the 125-year-old title.

In an interview inside, Emin reveals to the title's readership - with an average age of 70 - that sewing helps her stop thinking about sex.

Emin is a marked departure from The Lady's traditional cover stars which, prior to its revamp last year, ranged from cats and owls in soft-focus to bouquets of flowers.

The title's editor Rachel Johnson (sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson) is leading the revamp and has become increasingly adventurous with her covers since she joined in July.

Johnson said: "I stand foursquare behind my decision to put Emin on the cover. She may not be a dab hand at hospital corners as far as bedmaking goes, but Tracey Emin, RA, has reminded a malecentric world that so-called traditional housewifely skills such as needlework and quilting are in fact an art form, and always have been."

The magazine had a man on the front in February, Alan Titchmarsh, and cover girls have ranged from Julie Andrews and Lady Antonia Fraser to, more recently, Sharon Osbourne and Elizabeth Hurley.

The Lady, famed for classified ads seeking domestic staff and reportedly a longstanding favourite with The Queen, was the focus of a Channel 4 documentary last month called 'The Lady and the Revamp'. The programme followed Johnson as she overhauled its dusty image.

The title's circulation in the second half of 2009 was 28,782 copies, up 9.3% year on year, and its owners, the Budworth family, have set a target of 40,000 by the end of this year.

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