From skeletons to Burlesque…

For this post I’ve picked out some quirkier items from the shop – indeed some are positively bizarre. Click on any image to go to the shop where you’ll be able to read more about the image and to buy copies.

First up are some images by William Cheselden from his book ‘Osteographia’ or ‘The anatomy of the bones’ published in 1733. This one, of a bear skeleton leaning against a tree trunk is fairly odd.

bear skeleton by Cheselden 1733

This one however with a human skeleton leaning nonchalantly on what looks like the skull of some huge animal is fairly bizarre. [Not yet in the shop so no link]


Or what about this one, with another human skeleton, this time praying.


My favourite of these however is this one of a monkey skeleton, sitting on a tree stump, waving to the observer!


You can find all the Cheselden images in the shop by following this link.

If you thought those were odd, how about using an image of a dead body in a stream to sell high fashion?

rp-p-2009-1951-1_11x8-crop_950This is an illustration by Charles Martin from 1920, for the Gazette Du Bon Ton, a high end fashion magazine. The Gazette was a small but influential fashion magazine published in France from 1912 to 1925. It aimed to establish fashion as an art alongside painting, sculpture and drawing. According to the magazine’s first editorial: “The clothing of a woman is a pleasure for the eye that cannot be judged inferior to the other arts.”

By contrast, this advert for Scriven’s Patent Drawers is just good fun – at least from our perspective.


A good indicator of just how much things have changed is to consider the reaction of people at the time of the first advert (pre WW1) to this one from the 1950s.


Images like this might have been found in men’s private studies, but would not have been found in mainstream publications and would have been considered highly scandalous, despite the pre WW1 period also being the peak time for Burlesque!


My final image in this post is from the ‘Household Physician’ of 1900, although I suspect the drawings are earlier. If only current first aid manuals were so much fun…



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