A day at the beach – Photo of the day

Published by Kathy Hackett on October 10, 2010 in Photo of the day.

Powerhouse Museum – Sydney

    A day at the beach

This charming group portrait is part of the museum’s Tyrrell Collection of historical photographs. Although the condition of the photograph itself is poor, the image is a valuable record of swimsuit styles for both men and women and for the contrast it creates between streetwear and beachwear.

The woman on the right is in full-length Edwardian garb whilst the four younger members of the group sport relatively revealing swimsuits. The young men and the young woman are wearing two-piece, loose-fitting costumes made of the regulation dark coloured material. The length, in both cases, is well above the knee.

Although in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bathing at the beach had been heavily restricted, the recognition of the health benefits of swimming and the rise of the surf lifesaving movement led to a growing acceptance of public bathing and a relaxation in dress codes as the twentieth century progressed.

Australian swimmer and performer Annette Kellerman courted controversy by wearing a tight-fitting, one-piece swimming costume, which came to be known as the ‘Annette Kellerman’. She was arrested for indecency while wearing one on a Boston beach in 1907. The Powerhouse Museum holds a collection of Annette Kellerman costumes.

Photography by unattributed studio, Tyrrell Collection
No known copyright restrictions

    © Copyright Powerhouse Museum


Stampfli & Turci – Art Dealers

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~ by Stampfli & Turci on November 5, 2010.

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