Remember when a baby’s naked little bottom was a symbol of innocence—when two year olds would pose for a snap on a bearskin rug and cherubs could fly around Baroque rooms without raising questions or suspicions? Today we keep our antennae attuned to any possible impropriety involving children (and that’s good). Nevertheless, we might have surrendered a little of our own human delight by suppressing the toddler’s freedom of running around unencumbered by clothing. Before the Twentieth Century, the image of a naked child was used in art as a symbol of innocence, a beginning, and a human’s potential, yet to be realized. And “mythological children”—like faeries, elves, putti or sprites—were often conjured au naturel to suggest the primal origins of the adult human race.
Well, you can “relive the old days” with the English Arts & Crafts brass and copper pen tray, pictured above. Little, naked Victorian putti dance-about while their friends play an accordion and flute. It served, in its time, to re-capture the sense of liberation we all felt once, as children, before we entered the buttoned-down and proper world of our adult lives.
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