Original Illustrations for Saucy Seaside Postcards up for Auction

Memories of the Golden Age of seaside holidays will be stirred, when a Private Collection of Original Illustrations for saucy seaside postcards come up for auction at Tennants Auctioneers on 21st June. Over 80 illustrations will be sold in group lots, with estimates ranging from £300-500 to £700-1000.

Long associated with the traditional British seaside holiday, comic postcards had an enormous influence in shaping our National humour. Often crossing the line of good taste, they were the visual counterpart to the working men’s club joke and the music hall comedy turn. With stock characters such as fat ladies, small, hen-pecked husbands, courting couples, and heaving bosoms aplenty, the bawdy postcards were adored by millions.

All the illustrations in this collection were drawn by artist Arnold Taylor for Bamforth’s - a family firm of printers established in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire in 1870, who were renowned for their artist-drawn comic postcards. By the 1960s Bamforth’s were the world’s largest publisher of the comic card, and produced over 50,000 comic designs.  

Arnold Taylor (b.1910), was one of the most prolific and best known of Bamforth’s team of artists. He joined the firm in 1926, and worked for Bamforth’s until his retirement in 1987; the increasingly risqué subject matter in his illustrations forms a fascinating social documentation in public tolerance for this fun but bawdy British humour. Alongside the full colour illustrations are simpler, sketched versions of the postcards, which were sent to the Blackpool Postcard Censorship Board for approval – and from the stamps on the reverse it is clear that many were denied!

Part II of the collection will be coming up for sale in the Autumn Stamp, Postcard & Ephemera Sale on 18th October. The collection is being sold by the family of Arnold Taylor.

The sale will also include over 800 lots of stamps, postcards and postal ephemera. A fully illustrated catalogue for the sale will be available on our website, leading up to the sale, alternatively, please contact the salerooms for further details.

Please note that the buyer of these illustrations shall not acquire any copyrights or reproductions rights with respect to any works in this sale.


Part of the Collection of Bamforth’s Comic Postcard Original Illustrations
Preliminary Sketch for a Postcard

Any image used must retain the © Bamforth & Company logo