Triathlon nude

One type of postcard rarely discussed when studying the First World War is the risqué image showing women in a state of undress or fully nude.

This postcard, by Jean Agélou Studios in Paris, is from the start of a risqué sequence (a latter card probably showed this woman at least topless) and was sent to Miss Gladys Gamble by Corporal Black in 1916 informing her that he was in the Reading War Hospital recovering from shrapnel injuries.

As photography became easier and cheaper, more studios opened and some, mostly in Paris, started to produce risqué postcards. The heyday of the erotic postcard was between the 1890s and the 1930s, but in this instance the term ‘postcard’ is a misnomer: even though many were printed with a postcard back, they were intended to be collected rather than sent.In , Sadler summarises the history of erotic postcards, and shares some of the most fascinating images from his book…For centuries, artists have depicted naked females.The postcards also reflect changing ideologies in the work of artists and in society generally.The ‘new sculpture movement’ of the 1870s introduced more realistic model poses, and pushed the boundaries of acceptable taste for nude figures – this opened the way for the wider range of poses used by early 20-century photographers.