Even as an unknown, Sean was still a draw

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HIS stunning physique and dark good looks certainly made a big impression on the young, female art students.

But, as just another model posing virtually naked at Edinburgh College of Art, the young Sean Connery was soon forgotten.

Among the students who sketched the future Hollywood legend in his skimpy loincloth - and then forgot all about him - was 18-year-old Hilary Lewis.

Fifty years after consigning her drawings to the back of her portfolio, the former art student, now Hilary Buchanan, has now rediscovered the revealing sketches in the attic of her Gorebridge home.

Now 67 years old, the retired secondary school art teacher was stunned when she realised what had been gathering dust in her attic for decades.

She was reading about the Edinburgh-born screen legend and his time as a model at the art college when she suddenly put two and two together.

"I was looking at a picture of him as he was then and it suddenly brought everything flooding back," she said.

"It was like a flashback and I went upstairs to the attic, looked out my old sketchbook and there they were. I have unearthed around seven sketches in my very tatty old sketchbook and they are turning brown on the edges because they are so old."

Mrs Buchanan, who now teaches adult evening classes in Greenhall Community Centre in Gorebridge, was a full-time student at Edinburgh College of Art for four years in the early 50s.

Months after she sketched Connery - who was attending a film premiere in Edinburgh last night - he took the first step on his path to fame.

He entered the 1953 Mr Universe contest in London and won third place. At the competition, the 23-year-old caught the eye of talent scouts who suggested he audition for a new musical called South Pacific. His physique helped him win a minor part in the chorus line, which helped him launch his acting career.

Arts impresario Richard Demarco, who was also among the students who painted Connery, today recalled the impact he had on female students.

"When he modelled there were always lots of girls in the classes because they were attracted by his Adonis-like physique," he said. "He was a great inspiration for any artist and was amazing to paint and draw. I have done drawings of him but despite looking everywhere I just cannot find them."

Mrs Buchanan has vivid memories of her brief encounter with the former Fountainbridge milkman.

"I do remember this chap who was a model but we never thought he would be this famous person he is or imagine the heights he was to reach," she said.

"I remember his jet black hair and his dark eyebrows more than his body even though that was spectacular. He had a presence, a very solid presence.

"But we had many models over the course of the four years I was there and he was just another study at the time."

Mrs Buchanan has several drawings which are pen and ink, and pencil sketches. She has yet to decide what to do with the drawings, but has made copies to hand down to her grandchildren.

Mrs Buchanan has made her discovery as the James Bond star, who is now 72, makes a return visit to his home city. The movie icon has visited the Monet exhibition at the National Galleries and yesterday he and his wife Micheline surprised Fringe-goers when he joined them in the queue to see the drama Pugilist Specialist at the Pleasance.

Last night, he attended the premiere of Scottish film Afterlife at the UGC in FountainPark.