Vintage humour by Donald McGill – 1925

It's hard to believe these days that the innocent kiss-me-quick seaside humour of Donald McGill, the man behind so many of the British everso slightly smutty holiday postcards issued during the first half of the last century, got its creator into quite a deal of trouble with the censors. In 1954, at the grand old age of eighty, McGill was brought to trial charged with breaking the 1857 Obscene Publications Act. Instead of it being thrown out, he actually lost the case and was made to pay a £50 fine and £25 costs.

This artist signed postcard by Donald McGill isn't one of his saucy creations, but does look at one of his classic themes – marital relations – with the stereotypical housewife portrayed as a battleaxe on the doorstep having given her beleagured husband a good battering with the traditional frying pan! McGill produced an estimated 12,000 designs, of which a staggering 200 million copies are thought to have been printed, so this postally used card is hardly a rarity, but caught my eye nevertheless when I spotted it on a market stall in Rome.

Issued as part of the "Comique" series # 5185 by the Inter-Art Co., Florence House, Barnes, London, S.W., the card was posted during the summer on 22 July, 1925, so may well have come from a holiday destination, although sadly that part of the postmark is obscured.

Fans of Donald McGill can today visit the first museum dedicated to his work - Donald McGill's Saucy Seaside Postcard Museum - or visit Tate Britain's latest exhibition - Rude Britannia: British Comic Art - which will also feature his postcards.

Watch a short video - Censored At The Seaside - below or click here to watch on YouTube.

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday


Snap said…
Interesting post. I enjoyed it and the card very much! Happy PFF! I really do like the color in these old cards.
Dorincard said…
Wifey has a...deadpan humor.
Christine H. said…
I'm so glad to know that there's a Saucy Seaside Postcard Museum. That will definitely be added to my list of places to visit.
I didn't know about the exhibition in the Tate Britain. The saucy cards still seem to sell well in our local shops, though they aren't really as clever as they used to be.
Paul van Yperen said…
Very, very interesting post. Wonderful idea to create a Saucy Seaside Postcard Museum.
viridian said…
There is a place for saucy cards. Postcardy has put up some American ones.
Aimee Dars said…
These old marriage humor cards crack me up! Sometimes, though, I don't quite get them. This one is easy enough! ; )