Charlotte Martin

Charlotte Martin (born Catherine G. P. Martin, 19 September 1948 in Paris, France) is a former 1960s French model. She was the girlfriend of Eric Clapton from 1966 till 1968. Consequently Martin had a long term relationship with Jimmy Page from 1970 to 1986, they have a daughter Scarlet Page who was born in 1971.

Eric Clapton

Martin was working in London as a model when she first met Clapton at the Speakeasy club. It was during evening discussions for the formation of the band eventually known as Cream. Clapton later recalled in Clapton: The Autobiography: 'At the Speakeasy Club, I had first met one of the great loves of my life, a very beautiful French model, Charlotte Martin. I was smitten with her from the very first moment I set eyes on her. She was very beautiful in an austere way, classically French, with long legs and an incredible figure, but it was her eyes that got on me.'

On 8 November 1966, Clapton recited passages of 'La Marseillaise' as a tribute to Martin, during a performance of Cream's 'I'm So Glad' on BBC Radio 1's Saturday Club. In April 1967, while Martin was with members of Cream at a table in the Speakeasy, Clapton was introduced to Australian visual designer Martin Sharp by Martin, after a chance encounter there. Sharp began writing lyrics on a paper serviette and gave them to Clapton with his studio address at Cheslea, known as the Pheasantry. The lyrics became the song 'The Tales of Brave Ulysses', and subsequently Sharp was hired to design the cover of Cream's second album Disraeli Gears. Clapton moved into the creative space of the Pheasantry with Martin, in June 1967, and later 'Anyone for Tennis?' co-written with Sharp, was reputedly dedicated to Martin. On 25 June 1967, Martin participated in the satellite broadcast Our World, in the Beatles' 'All You Need Is Love' segment.

Jimmy Page

After her split with Clapton, Martin stayed briefly with friends Pattie Boyd and George Harrison at their Kinfauns bungalow in January 1969, before returning to Paris to continue modelling work. Singer Roger Daltrey subsequently introduced Martin to Page, backstage at the Royal Albert Hall on the evening of 9 January 1970. Martin was a friend of model Heather Taylor, Daltrey's future wife. She moved into Page's Pangbourne boathouse after Led Zeppelin's tour concluded in Leeds that year. Martin was also an acquaintance of noted American film director Joe Massot, whom she had previously met at a Cream concert at the Forum, Los Angeles on 19 October 1968. Massot moved to England in 1970 and visited the couple at Page's Pangbourne boathouse, after being invited to see Led Zeppelin at the Bath Festival in June of that year. Massot's meeting eventually gave rise to discussion of a documentary film project on Led Zeppelin, which evolved into directing The Song Remains the Same. She can be seen in the film during the closing moments of 'The Scarecrow' sequence with her daughter Scarlet Page, which was filmed in Germany, in October 1973.

Martin also travelled with the band to Bron-Yr-Aur, Montreux, and the Knebworth Festival 1979. She was also a passenger in the car, driven by Maureen Plant's sister Shirley Wilson, which was following behind Robert and Maureen Plant's vehicle on the Greek island of Rhodes on 4 August 1975, which became involved in a serious accident. The Plant's were injured when their hired Austin Mini skidded off the road and collided with a tree in a ravine. It was Martin who waved down a passing local farmer in his truck to get medical help. She also phoned Swan Song Records tour manager Richard Cole that allowed the injured to be properly treated in hospital, with medical specialists flown in from Harley Street, London. Both Martin and Page separated amicably circa October 1986.

In 2005, Martin married businessman Ernest Riall. She was interviewed and appears in the forthcoming film Psychedelic Revolution: The Karl Ferris Experience, which discusses the art and culture of 1960s psychedelia. Martin is currently a landscape painter with a number of works on public exhibition. Martin is an arts graduate of Thames Valley University.

Filmography

  • The Song Remains the Same (1976) [uncredited]
  • Psychedelic Revolution: The Karl Ferris Experience (201?)

Television appearances

  • Our World (1967) [uncredited]

Bibliography

  • Case, George (2009) Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man: An Unauthorized Biography. Rev. edn. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-947-3 (OCLC 244058456).

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