Friday, April 18, 2014

Bonnes Pȃques! Happy Easter - 1910s


This charming Easter greetings postcard was published by La Favorite, presumably in France at some point during the 1910s. The real photographic postcard has been hand tinted and was almost certainly created in one of the numerous photographic studios operating in Paris during the Golden Age of postcard production.

La Favorite logo
It’s a uncirculated postcard so there are no further clues – only the Happy Easter message “Bonnes Pȃques” in French and the publisher logo “La Favorite” in the bottom right hand corner together with an issue number 101.

The level of detail in the painted additions is particularly fine on this card with the stock romantic couple motif reproduced in a lovely miniature on the largest Easter egg in the lower vignette.

Hand tinted details on Easter eggs

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Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy as a pig in clover! Bonne Année!


Trick photography and photo-montages were all the rage in the early years of the last century and a stock feature during the Golden Age of postcard production. This charming New Year Greetings postcard is a wonderful combination of the ubiquitous glamour shot of a young, pretty woman, posed more unusually with a piglet – a European New Year lucky charm popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. To go one better, this pig is also surrounded by four-leaf clovers, which brings to mind the English idiom “happy as a pig in clover”, signifying prosperity and well-being.

NPG logo
The postcard may carry the French greeting “Bonne Année”, but was in fact issued in 1904 by Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (the New Photographic Society), a German organisation of photographers founded by Arthur Schwarz. The society became a formal “Aktiengesellschaft” (a joint-stock company) - indicated simply as AG on the reverse of the card - in 1894, and would go on to dominate the real photo postcard industry in the first half of the twentieth century. Based in Steglitz, a borough in the south-west of Berlin, the society members published many real photo postcards, and in particular “Oranotypie” images such as this postcard, NPG's own trade name for a type of glossy hand-coloured real photo postcard, which invariably included some gilding. The distinctive NPG logo in the bottom left hand corner is lightly gilded and gleams if tilted under a lamp.

Reverse of postcard
The card was clearly aimed at the French market, however, because the reverse of the card uses the “divided back” for message and address - the system was introduced in France in 1903, but was not adopted in Germany until 1905, a year after this card was produced. It was sent by a certain Madeleine Haran to Mademoiselle Jeanne Villain in Rouilly-Saint-Loup, but all that is legible of the postmark on the 5 centimes “Blanc” postage stamp is the year – 1907 – and the day – the 3rd – but it's probably safe to assume that it was posted in January of that year given the message “Bon pour 365 jours de bonheur” - Good for 365 days of happiness!

Happy New Year!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Stereoscopic Views of Italy – early 1900s

Naples – La Porte de Capoue
Naples – La Porte de Capoue
(Click on thumbnail to enlarge image)
Before leaving for my summer vacation and taking an August blogging break I thought I'd post something a little unusual. These vintage images aren't strictly postcards, but I'm sure that anybody with a passion for vintage photography will enjoy looking at these stereoscopic photo cards of Italy - they were the forerunner of the View-Master and even today's 3D movies!

Stereoscopy was a technique whereby a three-dimensional view was created by photographing a scene at the same moment, but from two slightly different positions. The images were printed side by side and viewed through a special instrument – a stereoscope – which presented the two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer, and gave the perception of three dimensional depth. Sadly I don't own a stereoscope, but I'd love to track one down to see how these photographs look!

These stereo views of Italy were published in the early 1900s by French studio Paris Stéréo as part of its “Vues d'Italie” series. Earlier stereo views from the late 1800s were often mounted on thick card, whilst these real black and white photographs are printed directly on photographic paper. The photographs are in perfect condition, with no foxing, and are wonderfully crisp with a wealth of detail. Long live film photography!

The first image of Porta Capuana in Naples records how the Renaissance city gate once appeared – the top level is no longer there today.

The second image is of Palazzo Spini Ferroni, which sits on piazza Santa Trinita in Florence – the ancient Roman column known as the Column of Justice is still found in the middle of the square and is visible in the distance.

Florence – Le Palais Spini
Florence – Le Palais Spini
(Click on thumbnail to enlarge image)

And last, but not least, a view of Rome, my adopted home. It shows piazza Trinità dei Monti with its late Renaissance church and the Roman – not Egyptian - obelisk Obelisco Sallustiano, which stands at the very top of the Spanish Steps. It is this church and obelisk that one sees when admiring the iconic view from the foot of the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna, whilst from piazza Trinità dei Monti one can admire a view of the entire Eternal City below.

Rome – La Trinité du Monts
Rome – La Trinité du Monts
(Click on thumbnail to enlarge image)
Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more vintage stereoviews

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Friday, July 12, 2013

Haynes Souvenir Folder – Yellowstone National Park – 1930s

Haynes Souvenir Folder containing 18 images of Yellowstone National Park
During the 1930s and 1940s many postcard publishers known for their linen finish cards such as E. C. Kropp and Curt Teich, produced souvenir albums of images containing scenic views. Printed in cheap tinted halftones on long strips of thin paper, and then folded accordion-style into a linen folder the size of a conventional postcard, with space inside for a short message, these souvenir folders are still popular amongst collectors today.

Liberty Cap, Mammoth Hot Springs - Oblong Geyser Crater - Grizzly Bear Family
I recently acquired a gorgeous batch of these folders and have fallen in love with the gaudy printing techniques of these booklets. The photographs in a folder for the Yellowstone National Park published by Hayes Inc., however, struck me as being particularly interesting, with a superior level of colour tinting. On further investigation I discovered that the images were based on the work of the official photographer and concessionaire of the Yellowstone National Park Frank Jay Haynes. Making his first visit to the park in 1881, he returned there to photograph its wonders every year – in all seasons - until his death in 1921, creating over 200 photographs, many of which were then beautifully hand coloured. This souvenir folder can never match the stunning original photographs, but is a fine attempt to emulate them in a mass produced format. Yellowstone National Park memorialised Frank Jay Haynes by naming Mount Haynes after him.

L-R:Northern Entrance Arch - Osprey and Aerie - Needle in Grand Canyon near Tower Fall (Click on thumbnail to enlarge image)

Haynes Guide, The Complete Handbook, Yellowstone National Park first appeared in1890 and was published annually until 1966, first by F. Jay Haynes, and then by his son Jack Ellis Haynes, who took over the family business when his father retired in 1916. The inside of the souvenir folder carries the following tourist facts and figures about the park, excerpted from the guide:
Yellowstone National Park although essentially a geological park, is also remarkably well suited to the students of wild life and scores of other lines of study, who find in its 3,472 square miles of area an inexhaustible field for research. Elevations range from about 5,000 to 11,360 feet above sea level.

Vacationists, most of whom carry cameras to record the wonders of this remarkable region, have ample opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing and boating. The condition of the park roads is the factor which determines the length of the season. The park highways which have an average elevation of slightly more than 7,000 feet above sea level and a maximum elevation of 10,317 feet (summit of Mt. Washburn) are for the most part blocked with snow throughout the winter months.

For those who visit the park before the main hotels and lodges open, or after they close, accommodations are available in the park at the principal centers, and at the towns near each park entrance.

The Grand Loop Road of the Park – all of its 142 miles – is one of the most magnificent scenic tours in America. It leads to the greatest geyser basins in the world and along the shores of Yellowstone Lake and River to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – both sides – and to its northern extremity near Tower Fall, and Mammoth Hot Springs.

Extracts from Haynes Guide, Yellowstone National Park
Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more Haynes Yellowstone National Park postcards and folders

Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Geisha playing traditional Japanese musical instruments – early 1900s


Vintage postcards are a wonderful record of past traditions, clothing and lifestyles and this Japanese card from the early 1900s is a perfect example. It pictures two geisha playing Japanese instruments – the girl in the blue kimono is playing the shamisen, a three-string lute with a fretless fingerboard, whilst the other is playing a koto, the national instrument of Japan and one of the traditional instruments played by geisha. During the previous century the traditional woodblock print had been the most popular medium for contemporary Japanese images, but by the early years of the twentieth century millions of postcards were produced for Japanese and foreign collectors, featuring images that recorded the rapidly changing Japanese society. Postcard collection in the country enjoyed enormous popularity during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - 1905, when the government issued and sold picture postcards to promote the war effort.

I found this lovely example of a hand-tinted collotype postcard on a Roman market stall recently. The card is uncirculated, so cannot be precisely dated, but the undivided back, and vignetted image with space for a message on the front of the card, rather than the back, puts it sometime between 1900 when a revision of the postal act allowed private (non-governmental) postcards to be published, and 1907 when the first divided back postcards (allowing for both address and message on the reverse of the card) were introduced in Japan.

Reverse of postcard
Japan had joined the Universal Postal Union (Union postale universelle) in 1877 and this postcard continues to include the UPU information on the reverse of the card in Japanese. Reading from right to left: Bankoku yūbin kumiai hagaki, literally, all countries (universelle = bankoku) postal (postale = yūbin) union (union = kumiai) card (carte = hagaki). Huge thanks to my email friend Gaye Rowley, who lives in Japan, for the translation of the Japanese inscription.

Whilst researching this post I came across this video of the instruments in use (or or click here to watch on YouTube).



Check out the Vintage Postcard Store for more Geisha postcards


Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.

Postcard Friendship Friday

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