Donald McGill Seaside Postcard Museum – Ryde, England - Atlas Obscura

Donald McGill Seaside Postcard Museum

Obscene versions of this artist's work are the most popular. 


An English graphic artist whose name has become synonymous with a whole genre of saucy and obscene seaside art that was sold mostly in small shops in many British coastal towns, Donald McGill is the king of the postcard. McGill’s work is still being collected, traded, and discussed. His work, appreciated for its creator’s artistic skill, but also his keen sense of observation, is collected in this one spot.

The purpose of this museum is to pay homage to Donald McGill, who spent his life creating original artworks for the then-thriving postcard industry. McGill created over 12,000 postcard designs from 1904 until his death in 1962. More than 200 million copies are said to have been printed. Outside of this museum, many of these postcards could fetch thousands of pounds as serious collector’s items.

The most valuable postcards are often those that depict the most racy themes and situations. Predicting this, McGill would always rank his work according to its vulgarity, from mild to medium to strong. The strong postcards were always the best sellers.

You will find that McGill’s cards depict anything and everyone, his watchful eye never missed a humorous situation he witnessed over the years. His artwork covers two world wars, suffragettes, lovers, matrimony, motoring, evolution, and much more. Running across all of those situations and themes, McGill always returned to a few key characters; he drew fat old ladies, honeymoon couples, vicars, attractive young women, and drunken middle-aged men.

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May 2, 2011

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