We are always buying postcards and photos from before 1950 - email us at circa1910@tampabay.rr.com.

Friday, December 11, 2009

FRANCES BRUNDAGE Artwork on Christmas & New Year Postcards

One of our favorite postcard artists is Frances Brundage.  Her beautiful children have her trademark big soulful eyes, and many of her designs are lively with lots of action.  We've chosen a Christmas design and a group of New Year designs by this prolific artist to illustrate her work for the holidays. 

Frances Isabelle Lockwood was born in 1854.  Her father was an artist who taught her to draw. When he deserted the family, Frances was only 17, but she began selling her pictures to help support the family.

Working with Raphael Tuck publishers, she illustrated books with her Victorian children - these are highly collectible today.  Her images were so popular that they also appeared on paper dolls, trade cards, calendars, prints and, of course, postcards.

Frances married another artist, William Tyson Brundage, in 1886.  Their only child, a daughter, died in infancy in 1891.  Frances Brundage's work also appeared on items published by the Samuel Gabriel Company of New York and Saalfield publishers in Ohio.  The bulk of her work was published by these three publishers, although she also did designs for a handful of other publishers. 

The two images of young children above show her classic big-eyed little ones, often wearing mischievous grins.  However, one of the most appealing aspects of Frances Brundage's work is the individuality of her children.  They have some elements in common, and those elements help us identify her many unsigned designs (there are only about 300 postcard designs signed) but they also have their own unique character and charmSome are wistful, others impish, occasionally thoughtful, and some are simply sweet turn-of-the-century children engaged in tasks of the time.
This is our absolute favorite Frances Brundage image - of Father Time playing on the floor with Baby New Year.  Although these two symbolic characters appear in many antique postcards for the New Year, only Brundage made the turning over of  the calendar such a joyful romp!
We end with a Frances Brundage illustration of a happy baby hanging in a fancy pink blanket from Father Time's scythe.  Baby New Year is usually shown as a boy - perhaps Brundage was paying tribute to her lost baby girl in this touching design and the one above it. 

Her career was long and successful - in her 60s, Frances Brundage was still creating memorable artwork for early 1900s households.  She died in 1937, at the age of 82.  If you would like to learn more about Brundage, see Women Children's Book Illustrators on the web.

Price Estimates:  Postcards with Frances Brundage images, usually unsigned, can be found as early as the undivided back era of 1901 - 1907.  Prices vary widely - you may be able to find a bargain unsigned design at a postcard show or online.  This is where your research in identifying artists by the style of their work comes in handy.  Those postcards identified as Frances Brundage will sell between $10 to over $100, depending on the rarity of the design and the construction of the postcard.  Some of her Halloween postcards are at the top of the price curve. Also, there are Brundage mechanicals and hold-to-lights which command high prices.   These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition.  They are only estimates of current prices.

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