Friday, July 10, 2015
Arthur Butcher was an English illustrator, born in 1877 in Wood Green, London. His artwork was reproduced as postcards.
The images in this post are flat postcards from the World War I era with English and French captions. Butcher was adept at adding glamour to illustrations of women affected by the war.
We open with a woman in military attire with the caption Fall in and follow me!
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Happy Independence Day!
On this special birthday, we look at a vivid series of July 4th postcards published by the British company Raphael Tuck & Sons. I recently learned that there is a town in Britain that actually celebrates July 4th with fireworks and feasting, so in the spirit of friendship and letting bygones be bygones, here is a fine Independence Day series of beautifully embossed postcards from the country from whom we liberated ourselves!
The design elements of this series are especially fine - I like the 'shield' of stars and stripes forming the background and the super-bright colors. All the images feature children.
On the above cards, July 4th celebration shows the war for independence, music and fireworks. The young Uncle Sam represents the battle itself, while the postcards of children playing music and setting off firecrackers are about love of country and freedom.
This is the back of the divided back series, showing the series number.
Another image of a child representing a national symbol, the above postcard is of Lady Liberty (sometimes called Columbia) with a flag and fireworks. The caption says, "Teach him to hold the flag holy and high for the sake of his sacred dead." A powerful sentiment on an important day!
Friday, June 26, 2015
The earliest bicycle-type vehicle, sometimes called a velocipede or Draisienne was invented by Karl Drais. It had a steerable front wheel, was made entirely of wood, and had no pedals. It required the riders to push along the ground with their feet...in the 1860s, the term "bicycle" was introduced in France to describe a new kind of two-wheeler with a mechanical drive.
The elegant art nouveau postcard above shows a couple sharing a ride on a bicycle built for two. This image is signed Mignot on an early undivided back postcard with space on the front for the sender's message.
In 1878 the first American manufacturer of bicycles began in Hartford, Connecticut with a trade catalogue 20 pages long. They made High Wheelers with a 60-inch tall (that's 5 feet!) wheel in the front. This fanciful vehicle was clearly only for wealthy people - it sold for $125.00 when you could buy a sewing machine for $13.00.
By 1890 bicycles were being mass produced, economical and of a type we recognize today. They were useful for the working man as transportation and here we have an artist-signed French divided back postcard of a courier with his bicycle:
Bicycles were a good way for people to get around when seeing new places, as well as useful for transportation at home. Here is an early undivided back Gruss Aus Wurzburg postcard with a couple on their bicycle.
Of course, bicycles needed maintenance and repair. Below is an early undivided back German postcard advertising Dunlop tires. This is a great illustration, showing a variety of people with their bicycles and including a rectangle in the center for the sender's handwritten message. It was postmarked in 1901.
Like automobiles after them, bicycles allowed couples to get out of the parlor and on the road where a romance could blossom in new-found privacy. Cupid oversees the activity on this colorful embossed postcard postmarked 1909.
Here a couple enjoys a ride together on separate bicycles, ignoring the trolley to go their own way under their own power. This postcard has a great art nouveau design and is postmarked 1906.
Information in this post is from the National Geographic and the International Bicycle Fund. In my research, I found this quote from Susan B. Anthony, famed suffragette:
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance."
The postcards shown here are all European. The difference in Europe and American bicycling continues. Here are some interesting statistics: "Americans use their bicycles for less than one percent of all urban trips. In Italy, 5 percent of all trips are by bicycle, 30 percent in the Netherlands, and seven our of eight Dutch people over age 15 have a bike."
Bicycle-theme postcards come in so many types that you could specialize inside the genre if you wished. Although the ladies in the real photo postcard above are European, there are many images of Americans with their bicycles on real photo postcards, from little children to adults.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Before the Nazis started using the swastika, this ancient symbol was used to convey friendly wishes and good luck. It appears on numerous antique postcards in various forms. We open with a great image that shows the swastika with other good luck symbols. On the back there is a description of the symbols. A flat, divided back postcard.
This card has vivid colors, rich embossing and gold added to the design. It is one of a bright series of divided back postcards.
This is from another series of embossed swastika postcards with bright gold - note the Dickens quote.
Here is another colorful flat divided back design with lots of Good Luck symbols, including a rabbit's foot. Each has a poetic description.
Below is a scarce swastika card that shows the relationship of American Indians with the symbol. It has a fabric swastika and the notation (bottom left) sew this on your necktie for good luck.
Swastikas also appear on holiday postcards. Below is an embossed Christmas example.
Swastika symbols for Good Luck are an intriguing collectors' niche...if you wish to collect these, look for examples both online and at shows.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Ethel Parkinson was born in Hull in 1868. About 1880 her family moved to Greenwich, South East London, and soon after she began working for C.W. Faulkner publishers.
Her style for Faulkner included images of Dutch children at play, families and pretty children in Victorian clothing. Parkinson used deep colors and dark outlines around the people in her images. Some of the postcards have elaborate backgrounds, some have simple backgrounds, and some have a plain colored background.
All the postcards in this post are flat designs published by C.W. Faulkner.
Below is an example of Ethel Parkinson's signature enlarged.
Here are two more images, also flat postcards published by Faulkner, without signatures. I think they look like Ethel Parkinson's work...
Friday, May 29, 2015
Clarence Frederick Underwood was born in Jamestown, New York in 1871. He studied in Paris at the Art Students League and the Academy of Julian in 1896 then returned to the United States at the beginning of the 1900s to work illustrating books, postcards and magazines including the Saturday Evening Post, McClure's and Harper's.
Known for his beautiful women, he also portrayed elegant couples as shown in this post.
All these postcards are flat divided back designs. Some have captions in English. The image below of parents with a sleeping child has a German caption.
Some of his images show a humorous view of society and romance. The fellow below is the object of two co-eds' affections, with the caption Who Will Be the Winner?
Underwood was in great demand during the golden age of postcards, and his popularity remains. His artwork is still available for purchase today in modern prints of his original designs.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Here's an introduction to two pretty series by Florence Hardy, both published by C.W. Faulkner in the UK. The first series, #1081, has elaborate illustrations of romantic couples with a musical theme.
For these two series, each image is signed and each has a caption. These are divided back flat postcards with beautiful colors.
Each series has 6 images in the set.
Faulkner & Co. produced card games and art prints as well as postcards. They were in business from the 1870s to the 1950s. Faulkner was originally in the Christmas card business together with Albert Hildesheimer but the partnership ended in 1885. Faulkner took over the business, publishing a number of popular family card games. Ethel Parkinson, also well-known for her postcards, was one of the card game illustrators.
This is the back of series #1081, with publishing information on the left edge.
Below is series #914 with young couples in fancy dress, dancing. On this series, the publishing information is printed on the front of the card along the left edge.
C.W. Faulkner and Co. produced calendars, holiday cards, birthday cards, painting books, and story books as well as postcards. These Florence Hardy postcards show the quality of Faulkner printing, many items printed in Germany and Austria.
This is the back of the 914 Series.