Monday, 3 March 2014

Saucy and Censored

Postcard by artist Douglas Tempest. Published by Bamforth & Co. Ltd, England; "WITTY" Series no. 329.

Refreshingly saucy and witty, British artist Douglas Tempest does his best to provide some light relief for a population of people worn down and saddened by war. Tempest worked for the prolific postcard publisher Bamforth and Co. from about 1911, and this became a working relationship that lasted for some 40 years.

The risque image and message of a naked young lady in a bathtub to "come just as you are" no doubt helped this postcard to become a popular purchase among the hundreds of thousands of soldiers on leave, in camps and hospitals or on duty away from the front lines.

The jab at censorship is also evident in the postcard message. Postcards, letters, gift cards, telegrams, photographs and newspapers were all scrutinised by censors during the war. Anything that reported the location or movement of shipping and troops was likely to be censored. Items thought to harbour coded messages was censored. And communication with enemy nations, or disloyalty to one's own government were also caught by the censor.