Keeping the Home Fires Burning

25Sep13

Victorian nudeSome time ago I came across a little piece of military history regarding the home front and the use of photography for keeping up the morale of men off fighting. Certainly by the time of both the Crimean War and the American Civil War photography was available to the officer classes among the British, French and Union Army.

It is by no means clear how widespread this practice was, but there is a suggestion that some young wives and sweethearts of serving officers (and some men) had risqué portraits taken of themselves (much like the themed one above) in order to keep their men’s spirits up.

One can well imagine that these women kept this naughtiness from their families and many a Victorian father would have been outraged and all that that promised. Remember this was the age of the birch and strap which were not spared when it came to a young woman’s bottom. Remember too that the same young ladies may well have been required to lodge with older relatives, sister’s, or even their imperious mother-in-laws.

One can speculate too what their husbands would say (or do) on returning for war to confront the butter-wouldn’t-melt demeanour of demure women who had dared all.

I couldn’t find more of substance on this. A selection letters from the First World War had these two little snippets.

Dear Bell,

Thanks for the items you sent, especially the socks and the other thing. That certainly was a surprise. Now I really am looking forward to when I can come back home.

And this…

Some of the men have been sent pictures of their girls got up in bathing suits and sometimes even less. I would hate to think of you getting up to such antics and if you ever did you and I would have words when I got home. The respectable portrait of you that you had made last summer is more than enough for me.

Pictures from the First War are relatively common and abound on vintage erotica sites, but many from earlier times were printed on glass and would have been lucky to survive the post in the first place and are now mostly lost or are in private collections.



3 Responses to “Keeping the Home Fires Burning”

  1. At first glance I thought the scabbard was sticking out her bottom. I knew the Victorians were secretly a kinky lot, but wow.

    Surely the repercussions for such antics would be swift and decisive, even if it rose the gentleman’s morale.

  2. 3 Richard

    Nice to know that kink goes back to glass plates have a metal one of great grand bout faded out though thanks


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