This paper describes a technique for building compact models of the shape and appearance of flexible objects seen in 2-D images. The models are derived from the statistics of sets of labelled images of example objects. Each model consists of a flexible shape template, describing how important points of the object can vary, and a statistical model of the expected grey levels in regions around each model point. Such models have proved useful in a wide variety of applications. We describe how the models can be used in local image search and give examples of their application.