Although fashions during the late 19th and early 20th centuries could be notoriously cumbersome, they did not prevent women from increasingly participating in active sports. Riding had long been acceptable, but in the nineteenth century, women began to take up other active sports, such as golf, yachting and tennis, especially after Wimbledon began hosting women's tennis tournaments in 1884. This drawing, by Lucien Guy, shows an extremely fashionable tennis player in about 1904. Although her dress still has a tight waist, the shirt-waist bodice and ankle-length skirt enable her to move more freely than if she were wearing a more fashionable gown with a trained skirt and tight sleeves.
While fashionable corsetry during this period could be quite restrictive, lighter, less heavily boned corsets were available for summer wear and active pursuits. Although the tennis-player is still bending from her hips rather than the waist, her figure is less exaggerated than it would normally be. Women's sports clothing has traditionally borrowed elements from men's dress since the masculine-styled riding habits of the seventeenth century, and in this drawing, the high white collar and black necktie, two-tone lace-up shoes with a low heel, and a white wide-brimmed hat are all taken from a smart young man's wardrobe.
The artist, Lucien Guy was a French illustrator and caricaturist active in the early 20th century, who appears to have specialised in portraying elegant, fashionable women of the period.