Published as a postcard circa 1910, this sandalled strongman leaves nothing to chance in protecting his modesty, and wears a large paper leaf, thoroughly secured with plenty of string!
The magnificent Eugen Sandow, photographed here in 1894 by George Steckel, his physique looking every bit as impressive to a modern eye as it would have to his contemporaries.
The printed inscription on this magnificent man’s photograph looked familiar, on investigation I found I have another from the same photographer, one K. Pospishil of Bohemia.
The impressively muscular Otto Olympier, his picture taken by an uncredited photographer and published as a postcard. Not intended to be sent home from a holiday as we mostly use them today, but for those who collected the cards as a hobby; images of strongmen and bodybuilders seem to have been a popular subject, judging by the amount which have survived to this day.
This reclining strongman’s sturdy masculinity is a little at odds with the dainty little filigree fig-leaf!
As always, I appealed to those of you who could read the title on this photograph, and was astonished to receive such quick reply; my thanks to the kind readers who told me K. Pospishil (Bohemia)
A different sort of solo portrait than featured before, this cabinet card from the 1890s shows an impressively muscular fellow proudly displaying his Sandow medal, sadly without a caption of his own name.
Georg Lurich, unusual among early strongmen in having his photograph published fully nude on occasion, rather than always discretely covered up (either in the studio, or with a little later editing before printing), as was the norm.
Eugene Sandow, 1890s.
Having last seen the mighty Sandow in motion, I thought you may like a still image to enjoy - here he is being carefully posed by the studio team (and given a jolly odd look by the chap on the right!)
One for the admirers of the more muscular of male forms, a photograph of one Ed Gloeggler, circa 1900 - doesn’t he have impressively strong shoulders, and I’m rather taken with the ruffled blond curls!
Adrien Deriaz, Swiss strongman, photographed at the turn of the last century at the height of his fame. Unusually, for physique photographs in this era, he does not wear the customary leaf to protect his modesty. One of his brothers, Maurice, has featured here before, I shall see if I can find any more of them for you!
One of Georg Lurich I’ve not remembered seeing before.
This photograph is new to me, too, one of the less widely used portraits of this remarkable man.
My perpetual gratitude to Alan, who has sent in many fine photographs for me to choose from - this particular piqued my curiosity as the fellow’s name is included, a tantalising snippet of information on which I hoped I could expand; but my investigations have sadly drawn a blank, I cannot find out anything about his life or career.
A young Eugen Sandow, photographed here in the late 1880s, after leaving Prussia to embark on his early career as a circus strongman. As befitting someone whose body would become his business, he reveals almost all to show those superbly defined flexed muscles for the admiration of his audience.
A final image in my unintended theme of vintage strongmen tonight, photographed by Emile Bayard in 1902. This picture is especially noteworthy not just for the outlandish shape in which it has been mounted, but also the strange arrangement to preserve his modesty - a stylised fig leaf, perhaps, but the attachment leaves room for the mind to ponder : how is he holding it there? Somehow the possibility of clenched buttocks gripping the wire support brings an unintentional amusement to the scene!