The cover art for Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy album was inspired by the ending of Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End.
The ending involves several hundred million naked children, only slightly and physically resembling the human race in basic forms. It is a collage of several photographs which were taken at the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, by Aubrey Powell.
The two children who modelled for the cover were siblings Stefan and Samanatha Gates.
The photoshoot was a frustrating affair over the course of ten days. Shooting was done first thing in the morning and at sunset in order to capture the light at dawn and dusk, but the desired effect was never achieved due to constant rain and clouds. The photos of the two children were taken in black and white and were multi-printed to create the effect of 11 individuals that can be seen on the album cover. The results of the shoot were less than satisfactory, but some accidental tinting effects in post-production created an unexpectedly striking album cover.
The inner sleeve photograph was taken below at Dunluce Castle near the Causeway.
Like Led Zeppelin's fourth album, neither the band's name nor the album title was printed on the sleeve. However, manager Peter Grant did allow Atlantic Records to add a wrap-around band to UK copies of the sleeve that had to be broken or slid off to access the record. This hid the children's buttocks from general display, but still the album was either banned or unavailable in some parts of the Southern United States for several years.