I don’t know about you, but for me postcards are an intense evocation of nostalgia – so ubiquitous in the last century, and just a pale shadow of their former glorious selves in this day and age. Fortunately, a lot of them have survived through the years, and collectors have taken care to preserve these snippets of the past, whether crass or elegant, stunningly illustrated or just the barest sketch of an idea.
We’ll start with the oldest postcards of today’s post from quite a long time ago – the beginning of the 20th century in France.
These following two French postcards from 1910 are signed by “E. Orot”, though I wasn’t able to find out whose nom de plume that was. The back of the cards says “près des grands flots bleus” (near the great blue waves) which was the name of the seaside-themed series by this mysterious artist.
The following postcard is French, part of a series of images depicting France in the year 2000 as seen by artists in the early 20th century. These were first published as inserts in cigar boxes, and later given second life as postcards. This one is painted by Jean-Marc Côté. « There are at least 87 cards known that were authored by various French artists, the first series being produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. Due to financial difficulties the cards by Jean-Marc Côté were never actually distributed and only came to light many years later after the science-fiction author Isaac Asimov chanced upon a set and published them in 1986, with accompanying commentary, in the book Futuredays: A Nineteenth Century Vision of the Year 2000. » To see more of these cards, visit A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000, which is also where that quote is taken from.
Moving on to France’s “historic rival“, Britain.
All I was able to ascertain is that this postcard is British, from the 40s or possibly 50s. Are these women giantesses, or is this aquarium exhibit meant for children or possibly dwarves? We will never know.
The three following postcards are British, but from varying decades. The Bill going on a date is from the 1950s. Bill’s cold, octopus-like hands (is it the same Bill, some twenty years on?!) are from the late 70s, published by Kromekolor, which seems to have had a chunk of the British market, though very little information is available online. And the nameless guy playing around with a fishing girlfriend is from sometime in the late 60s, and I would not at all be surprised if his name was William.
We have talked about Donald McGill, the king of comic postcards (take a look here) before. I was delighted to find two tentacular offerings from the vast collection of postcards he has drawn.
Continuing in a British vein, this postcard is part of the Seaside Spooners collection by Tom Browne, (another extremely prolific British artist and very much a contemporary of McGill) and is entitled The Lovers’ Seat.
Moving on the good ole U.S. of A. – here’s a pair of American postcards from the 50s, with rather similar jokes.
And another postcard from 1954. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the illustrator is in either case. I like how Melvin looks puzzled, not scared, by this cephalopod intrusion.
I hope you enjoyed this little voyage! Until next Tuesday…