Although morality was severely curtailed in the Victorian era, it was during this period that commercial pornography flourished. Whereas in the past, in modern legal terms, pornographic material was produced only by members of the higher circles and by highly paid artists, in the 19th century it became available to the middle and even lower classes. The spread of pornography was undoubtedly influenced by the discoveries of the scientific and technical revolution, namely the development of printing and photography.
Pornography and literature
Before the 19th century, literature was published in small editions. The number of people who could read and pay for books, as well as spend time reading, was very limited. With the emergence of more and more educated and thus more profitable people, the demand increased.
Although erotic reading became available, the authorities tried to censor it. Even classical Greek literature was censored. Countless societies were organized in the fight against “immorality.” These societies set themselves the goal of combating the expression of human natural sexuality. Nevertheless, from 1820 to 1840 and after 1860, the number of erotic literature publications was huge.
If in the first half of the century writers still used symbols and metaphors to describe sexual scenes, later shyness was thrown aside and things were called by their proper names. The titles of the books clearly indicated their content: “ Bed Friend or Guide for the Virgin ” (1824), “The Adventures, Intrigues, and Walkings of the Lady Maid ” (1822), “ The Modern Pervert ” (1824), “The Enjoyable Turkish ” (1828), “The Cardinal seducer ”(1830),“ Venus darling ”(1830),“ How to make love ”, etc.
At the end of the 19th century, erotic magazines and collections of articles became especially popular in the British Isles. The most popular of these was “Pearl or a monthly magazine for sweet passions”. It was issued in July 1879 and lasted for a year and a half.
In the United States, pornographic publications were not printed, which allowed traders to earn extra money and import “obscene” literature and periodicals from Europe. In 1870, one hundred thousand copies were sold in New York alone, a significant number at the time.
Pornography in painting
In the early 19th century, erotic paintings and graphics were not uncommon. Like literature, masterpieces of pornographic fine art could be obtained by more and more buyers of “picanters”. Although eroticism and pornography in most Victorian countries were outlawed, artists painted the genre either to order or for pleasure. For example, the famous English mariner Joseph Turner was also a very prolific “producer” of erotic paintings. Most of his erotica has been destroyed, but the sketches that are now kept with great reverence in the British Museum in London have survived.
The most famous world-famous artists, who also expressed their talents in erotic painting, were Jean Ingres, Ferdinand Victor Delacroix, Felicien Rops, and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Lotrex in particular depicted the daily life of a house of pleasure or brothels in his paintings.
Fortunately, these works were escaped from severe censorship and have survived to the present day. Austrian draftsman Peter Fendi has left his mark on pornographic art with his drawings depicting various sexual poses. Mihaly Zichi, a Hungarian, has left forty drawings depicting his own turbulent sex life.
In 1839, Louis Daguerre published a description of the first practical way to obtain a photograph or daguerreotype, thus becoming the world-famous father of photography. The first daguerreotype was created on a silver-plated copper plate. The first pornographic photo was created in 1848, showing a man and a woman in love. This image is currently stored at the Kinsi Institute in the United States.
Although it was not possible to reproduce daguerreotypes, photographers of the new profession took a huge amount of porn photos, which, of course, was a good income. For example, in 1850, the United States produced three million “obscene” pictures. One such picture costs about a week’s worker’s salary.
In 1851, the Englishman Frederick Scot Archer and the Frenchman Gustave Le Gray simultaneously invented the acquisition of a negative image on a photographic plate, which allowed photographs to be reproduced. This invention made it possible to bring pornography to a wide range of nations.
In 1848, there were 13 photo studios in Paris, while in 1860 there were already over 400. In 1852, “inappropriate” pictures accounted for 40% of all photographs for sale. The best-known photographers in the porn genre were Auguste Belloc, Bruno Braquehais, Felix Moulin, and others.
The dawn of pornographic movies
With the invention of cinema and the public screening of the Lumiere brothers’ first film, The Arrival of the Train, on December 28, 1895, porn producers were the first to appreciate the possibilities of the new genre.
The first kiss on the screen was seen in 1896 in the 30-second film “The Kiss”, which shows the heroes of the musical “Widow Jones” – the already mentioned widow and Billy Buck. At the time, it was a shocking film: of course, a scandal broke out, and the Catholic Church called for a ban on showing the film. It should be noted that what is seen on the screen very remotely resembles an erotic kiss in the modern sense.
Despite all the efforts of the guardians of the virtue, the bag was open and pornographic cinema began its triumphant march towards the broad masses. The first real porn movie appeared in the same year, 1896, entitled “Le Coucher De La Marie” (Bed for the Bride), in which the viewer could watch sex and a young woman undressing.
The short films allowed the little ones to satisfy their desire to see how other people made love and that is why they became especially popular. Of course, the development of the pornographic film industry was possible only in those countries where it was tolerated. In Europe, they were France, the Netherlands, Italy. On the American continent – Latin American countries. Nothing like that could have been imagined in the United States. If only in the deep underground.
It is believed that the origins of the industry can be found in the brothels of Buenos Aires, where films for adults were shown, filmed and also sold. Later, this was the way the diligent moved to Europe.