Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Margaret Tarrant, beloved British illustrator of postcards and storybooks, featured three basic themes in her work: fairies and goblins, children in nature, religiious Christian images. In this post, we focus on her works showing fairies, elves, goblins, all forest and meadow dwellers.
Margaret Tarrant created an impressive body of work and was extremely popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Her work is still enthusiastically collected today. She was born in 1888, the only child of Percy Tarrant, a landscape artist, and Sarah Wyatt. Her father was a successful illustrator, published in magazines, books and greeting cards. Margaret followed his lead, developing her own unique watercolor style. Her friends included Molly Brett, and Cicely Mary Barker, also popular artists of fairies, children and religious subjects.
The Scots Pine Fairies wear pointed hats and perch in a Scots Pine tree, a big full moon glowing on the horizon...The Fairy Troupe shows a group of tiny fairies parading with flowers... Pear-blossom Fairy has settled on a pear tree branch and is surrounded by white petals and butterflies. Gorgeous colors, mystical images, characterize Tarrant's work in this genre.
All the postcards in this post were published by The Medici Society, established in 1908 by Philip Lee Warner and Eustace Gurney. Their goal was to publish the work of artists so that their images could be more widely distributed. Postcards are a perfect medium for this - the owners of the Medici Society resolved to sell their products "for the lowest price commercially possible"...nowadays some of the Medici Society postcards, including those by Margaret Tarrant, can bring solid prices.
Below is one of our favorites in the Fairy series, the Cherry Fairies, surrounded by a decorated border and sharing the spotlight with ripe red fruit. Exquisite colors, delicate imagery, a fine example of Margaret Tarrant's work.
Above we find little winged goblins or fairies writing letters on flower petals...they have insect-style wings.
This is a newer version of Tarrant's work, also by The Medici Society, printed on matte white postcard stock - vivid colors light up this Rainbow Fairies image.
The last image in this post, Fantasia, is an exceptionally fine image of fairies beside a stream, with the boy sporting butterfly wings and the girl having translucent wings like those of a dragonfly. Water lilies and fish in the stream and a profusion of delicately-colored flowers complete the scene.
Price Estimates: Fairy and Goblin images by Margaret Tarrant can be acquired from about $10 - $25 each, depending on the seller either on the internet or at a show and on the availability of different images. These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and they are only estimates.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
This post introduces a selection of poster-style postcards from the San Francisco California Panama Pacific International Exposition, sometimes referred to as PPIE. Postcards were produced advertising the exposition years before it opened to encourage potential visitors to plan ahead to come to San Francisco for the festivities. The exposition celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal; it also re-introduced the world to the post-quake and fire city, a rebuilt and proud San Francisco. The card that opens this post was published by Edward Mitchell.
There are a number of fun advertising postcards from the exposition. We are fond of giant anything, so we are sharing the giant typewriter below. This postcard is well-known and commonly available, so the exposition visitors must have liked it, too. We admire the confident way the typewriter is promoted as the machine we will eventually buy!
Above we show two glorious poster-style images from the exposition, both featuring beautiful women in classic dress...vibrant colors on flat postcards. They are both published by Exposition Publishing Co. On the back of the right card is stamped in red: Out of Debt Day, San Francisco, September 3, 1915. The P.P.I. Exposition is a Financial as well as Artistic Success. Its last cent of debt was paid today. Send this to your absent friends today.
Here are two more Exposition designs, one marked on the back that it is published by Exposition Pub. Co. and one marked Edward Mitchell...we notice that the rest of the back design is exactly the same. The image on the left includes one of the mantras of the Exhibition: California Welcomes the World. The image on the right includes the California Bear that appears on the State flag, standing on a rocky outcropping. The image is elaborate, showing quake-and-fire ruins in the foreground, and the rebuilt city behind the ruins, with the Bay in the background. A flag flies above the scene, with a banner surrounded by images of ribbons and leafy garlands at the top...this is a truly magnificent poster-style postcard with strong colors and outstanding artwork.
Below are more images of the California State Bear. Bear-in-Mind is a multiple pun image, with subtle colors, copyrighted in 1911. Undaunted has a dramatic image that emphasizes the strength of San Franciscans who rebuilt their beloved city after the quake and fire. The bear has an arrow in his back but stands above the ruins in defiance.
The last two postcards in this post are a little different. One is a real photo postcard of an Exposition Hiker, who holds his dog in this portrait. The caption says Harold Card, Exposition Hiker, Portland to San Diego Frisco and Return. The card has an AZO (1904-1918) stampbox and a studio identification on the back: Made by the Electric Studio, Portland Ore. On the right is a closeup of a portrait postcard showing a pretty woman in a Panama hat holding a bouquet of California poppies. Her hatband advertises the reason for the image.
Price Estimates: PPIE postcards include promotional postcards, advertising, real photo postcards and many views of the buildings and events at the Exposition itself. In this post, we have focused on poster-style postcards, some of the more expensive postcards that can be collected from this famed International fair. The least expensive is the typewriter advertising postcard which may be found reasonably priced online. The other postcards shown here will cost about $20 - $50. These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition and they are only estimates.
Poster style postcards present visuals in the style of much larger prints. All the great graphics of a poster are squeezed into the standard 3.5 X 5.5 inch space of a postcard, keeping the impact while allowing the collection to be stored in an album rather than covering your walls. This is our first post on the subject, focusing on San Francisco, California.
Of course, San Francisco is also famous for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, celebrating both the opening of the Canal and the rise of the city from the ashes of the quake and fire of 1906. The card above shows two scenes of the city in oval vignettes above an image of the Bay and the Ferry Building (which is still there, now the scene of a fine farmer's market). You will note that the image of the Golden Gate has no bridge, because this postcard dates from about 1915 and the bridge was built in the 1930s.
This nicely embossed greeting postcard shows the Victorian Cliff House above the San Francisco beach, before it was burned down. A shame it wasn't reconstructed in its original form - what a beautiful and impressive building.
San Francisco is also known for its Chinatown, and early advertising postcards featured successful businesses in the Chinatown area. Below is a good example of this poster-style postcard, a flat and colorful image.
Above is a creative poster-style design showing what appears to be a burlap-wrapped package secured with twine and red sealing wax, with 'stencil' lettering, a tag and a picture of a New Post Office postcard, making this both a San Francisco postcard and a good addition to the deltiology collector's album. This flat postcard is postmarked 1907.
Above we show two Admission Day celebration postcards, both with vivid colors and dramatic graphics. These cards are flat, with the lady card by Cardinell-Vincent publishers, and the couple by Edward Mitchell. Both these publishers were active in San Francisco at the turn of the century.
Here is another view of the original Cliff House, embellished with the California State flower, the golden poppy. This postcard has rich embossing on both the floral design and the Cliff House image. Published by Richard Behrendt of San Francisco, this is an especially nice example of our poster-style postcards from the city by the bay.
Price Estimates: The quality of the design and embossing on poster-style postcards will affect the prices. The cards in this post cost between about $15 - $40. This estimate is for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and it is only an estimate.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
In this post, we look at a selection of Easter fantasy postcards with rabbits, hens, chicks and roosters engaged in human activities and in fantastical settings. From a variety of publishers, these postcards are all nicely embossed, many with gold details added. We begin with Easter animals in different modes of 'modern' transport dating from the early 1900s when these postcards were produced. The postcard above shows chicks on a trolley, Made in Germany published by E.B. and postmarked 1908.
Here a white rabbit chauffeurs some gigantic chicks in their elegant automobile. A big pink egg serves as a headlamp on this classy vehicle. This postcard was postmarked 1910.
Next is a charming image from International Art publishers, possibly the work of Ellen Clapsaddle. Her chicks always seem to have an abundance of personality, and the individual chicks in this open automobile show real individuality. We especially like the motoring goggles. Postmark date on this wonderful postcard is unclear.
Above is a lively scene of chicks dancing to the accordion music - Printed in Germany with rich embossing and witty artwork, vivid colors. This postcard was postmarked 1910.
The postcard above shows a classic Easter fantasy image - rabbits, chicks, angels or children painting gigantic holiday eggs. These dressed rabbits are painting faces on a family of white eggs, the larger eggs wearing hats. This postcard was published by Whitney, and while it has writing on the back it was not mailed. It is probably the most recent of the postcards shown in this post - possibly as late as the 1920s. Below is an image of dressed rabbits and an assertive chick playing in the garden, Mama rabbit watching from the window. This beautiful fantasy has lots of shining gold details, published in Europe, postmarked in 1907.
We fine a very different theme in the image below, one of a series of military-theme Easter fantasies of rabbits in warfare. Here the rabbits are mounted on roosters - they wear colorful uniforms. The pink-coated rabbit has a sword. Published by B.W., printed in Germany, postmarked 1908.
These two nicely dressed chicks are ready for a day on the town, but a slip causes an egg to fall and break. Great facial expressions! This embossed postcard has a solid silver background. Printed in Germany with a little writing on the back but unmailed.
These sweet little chicks are fascinated by an Easter classic from my childhood - do you remember big sugar eggs with die-cut paper stand-up scenes inside? They were so much fun to receive, and such a treat to look into, as these little chicks are doing. This postcard image also appears with rabbits looking into a sugar egg.
Another Easter fantasy classic uses eggs as shelters - here we see a rabbit inside a giant egg. Some of the egg houses are quite fancy, with window curtains and flower boxes. Others, like the egg on this fantasy postcard, are plain. Our rabbit wears a bright red jacket. Nice embossing, postmarked in 1911.
Price estimates: Easter fantasy postcards vary in price depending on how elaborate, embossed or gilded the image may be. The postcards shown in this post range in price from about $8.00 - $15.00. These estimates are for postcards in EXCELLENT condition, and they are only estimates.
Friday, April 8, 2011
In this post we take a look at patriotic postcards from World War II - the first card is by Kropp and we especially like the way certain images (the airplane, the parachute) 'escape' the borders of the large letters to add action to the image. All the rest of the postcards shown in this post were published by Tichnor.
The postcards by Tichnor that we have chosen to show here all have a V for Victory visual theme...here we see a huge red letter V with marching soldiers and warships...note that scale has been sacrificed to dramatic imagery. StriVe for Victory carries through the V idea.
We especially like the simple vivid design of this poster-style card; it reminds us of a flag in concept, and combines our red/white/blue national color scheme very nicely.
The two postcards above show first the military and then the united efforts of the military with our once-strong labor force - a farming image in the foreground and a factory in the background. They show graphically the idea of working together for Victory - how everyone's efforts are needed to win the war. It's disconcerting to think how Labor has lost power and presence in our country since WWII and how that might affect our strength if we needed to participate in another world war.
We already have a post of Keep 'em Flying WWII postcards you might like to see - here's a big V for Victory combined with the theme of keeping our pilots and planes in the air. The American Eagle accompanies these planes on a mission.
The Over the Top postcard once again shows the Army, the Navy and the American worker combining strengths to reach Victory - a design full of action and color.
We close with a colorful image of Uncle Sam rollling up his sleeves to fight for Victory - our national symbol dressed in his traditional red/white/blue outfit...he has taken off his jacket and his tophat to get ready for combat. By the way, the Morse Code on some of these cards( ...- ) translates to V.
Price Estimates: These vivid linen postcards are still a good deal at about $4 - $10 each. Now is a great time to work on your collection of WWII postcards before these prices rise. This estimate is for postcards in excellent condition, and it is only an estimate.