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A dash of seaside sauce; Wish you were here! Marion McMullen puts a stamp on saucy seaside postcards that once meant summer had arrived in Britain.

Byline: Marion McMullen

AUGHTY and bawdy ....

n saucy seaside postcards were a big part of the great British summer holidays.

The Carry On-style humour appealed to holidaymakers who merrily sent them home to friends and relatives to give them a chuckle.

Prolific postcard artist Donald McGill famously designed one card of a man and woman sitting under a tree with a book. The caption read: "Do you like Kipling?" "I don't know, you naughty boy, I've never kippled!" Porridge actor Ronnie Barker and wordsmith was an avid postcard collector and amassed around 40,000 during his lifetime.

The Two Ronnies star began collecting postcards in the 1950s and was a fan of the seaside variety. He even brought out a book called Ronnie Barker's Book of Boudoir Beauties and his postcard collection was sold following his death to an anonymous buyer for PS60,000 at auction in 2007.

The world's oldest postcard was popped in the mail in 1840 and fittingly featured a cartoon caricature of postal workers. It was posted with a penny black stamp affixed and the postcard was bought in 2002 for a record PS31,750.

Soldiers often sent postcards featuring an inspirational or touching message during the First World War, but the British seaside postcard first made an appearance in 1894.

The early postcards often featured local landmarks and landscapes, but things started getting saucy in the 1930s with graphic artists like Donald McGill, Tom Browne, Phil May, Will Owen and Harry Rountree and David Phil Millar.

Victorian gent McGill was nicknamed the Leonardo of the saucy postcard and dominated the market selling more than 300 million cards during his lifetime featuring everything from honeymoon couples and vicars to rotund ladies and happy drinkers.

But several of his designs were banned for being a little bit too naughty and he was fined PS50 by the courts. The 21 banned cards only went on display in 2011 in a museum in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, home to the largest collection of McGill's work in the world.

Meanwhile, a set of 25 original risque watercolours which were later printed as saucy seaside postcards were found in a plastic bag in a Wiltshire rubbish skip and sold at auction in Warwickshire for PS2,250 in 2009. The cheeky paintings by Philip Millar - also known as Pedro - were original designs from the 1960s and 1970s.

Pedro's suggestive cards have been described as "Carry On on a card" and the original artwork drawings found in the skip were all numbered.

They typified English suggestive humour and a single painting of a busty woman selling baby blue tits in a pet shop sold for the highest sum of the set at PS130.

Skip firm owner Des Hudd, who discovered the paintings stuffed in a plastic bag, said at the time: "I'm a bit of a magpie and thought these paintings might be worth a few bob so kept them in my loft. I was always a fan of the naughty postcards so was overjoyed when I stumbled across this pristine collection."

The British love of seaside postcards headed abroad when people started flying off for package holidays in the sun and even the Beatles stopped to check out some postcards when Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon managed to fit in some sightseeing in Paris back in 1964.

But the growing appeal of foreign holidays marked the end of an era for saucy British seaside postcards. Original and rare designs are now highly sought after by collectors and can fetch high prices at auction.

The Royal Mail even marked the centenary of the picture postcard in 1994 with a set of five stamps featuring a selection of cartoon seaside scenes including a buxom female bather at Blackpool and a Punch and Judy show.

Now holiday-makers are more likely to turn to emails, Twitter and Instagram or texts to share their vacation memories with friends and family. Randy milkmen, newlyweds and buxom lovelies seem to have had their day, but the cards can still raise a giggle As one cartoon of Adam and Eve once joked: "I've something to confess Eve - last night I turned over a new leaf."

CAPTION(S):

Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon of The Beatles choose postcards in Paris in 1964. Inset: A postcard by Bamforth & Co

Three holidaymakers buy postcards in 1965 in the Costa Brava. Top right, a vintage postcard from Blackpool and, right, a saucy seaside postcard by the firm Bamforth & Co
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 24, 2015
Words:751
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