Saucy vintage burlesque posters go on display

Dita Von Teese may have helped return burlesque to centre stage, but this collection of vintage posters proves that the titillating art form has been popular for decades.

The Library of Congress in the US has opened its archive of around 2,100 posters illustrating live entertainment from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

And the series shows that people have always embraced the weird, wonderful and wacky – and saucy.

The gay morning glories
British Blonde
 

Classic: With her curvy figure popping out of her dress, the woman on the left resembles an early Dita Von Teese, while clearly gentlemen in the older days still preferred a British blonde

Although many of the posters are tame by today’s standards, they show that punters have always enjoyed seeing a shapely leg or a hint of cleavage.

In one image, a line of women clad in white pose provocatively with their fingers near their lips, about to take a bite out of some food.

Paris match: The can-can comes to the US for the first time

Paris match: The can-can comes to the US for the first time

Another poster embraces the feel of the Moulin Rouge, as a line of girls dance their best can-can in frilly skirts, with stocking-clad legs raised in the air.

And some of the posters are downright strange.

I'll have what she's having: These stage girls pose provocatively

I’ll have what she’s having: These stage girls pose provocatively

In one image, a girl appears to be dancing on a table next to a lobster.

In another poster, a woman trims her dog’s tail with scissors, while in another a woman in a fancy hat holds on to a group of men attached to strings, as though they were puppets.

High Rollers burlesque
Bon Ton Burlesque
 

Bizarre: Some of the images reflect some rather strange tastes

 

Skimpy: This costume must have raised a few eyebrows at the time
Skimpy costume
 

Skimpy: Some of the slight costumes must have raised a few eyebrow at the time

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