Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Collecting Postcards - Part One

I mentioned in my last post a 'hobby' that seems to have come to a standstill since I've had my digital camera; that is collecting postcards. I'm not sure if it can be called a hobby as such but more something I've always done. I'm not an avid collector and don't necessarily go to postcard fairs or antiques shops looking for them, although I did when I produced a postcard book on Spalding. It was an interesting thing to do but my collecting is more to keep a record or to hold a memory than for historical or monetary value.

I think you could safely say that postcards were the e-mails or texts of their day. At their height of popularity in the early 20th century it is said that you could post a card to your local butcher in the morning with your order and that it would be delivered to your door, presumably by the butchers boy on his bicycle, by tea time the same day. The postal service was that good. I do have some old postcards that have been in the family for many years and I treasure them mainly for the messages written on them by my grandmother and her sisters. Many of them sent as birthday cards, others with simple messages like 'uncle is much better now' and 'will be home on the 3p.m. train, Wednesday next.'

I started to keep the postcards I bought in albums like the one above but I still have loads in banded piles and some still in the bags they were put in when I bought them. There must be a couple of hundred of them, I haven't really counted but below are some of my absolute favourites.

The Suffragette cards are from the 'Purple, White and Green - Suffragettes in London' exhibition held at the Museum of London in 1992. The Gwen John paintings are from the 'Gwen John - An Interior Life' exhibition held at the Barbican Art Gallery, London in 1985. The L. S. Lowry paintings are from The Lowry, Manchester and possibly the latest of my collection. Nestling together are postcards of wonderful works of art that have caught my eye over the years. Bronzino's painting of Lucrezia Panciatichi from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence visited on a very hot day of about 32 degrees
in 1990, it was so cool and beautiful inside away from the glare of the sun. Eduard Manet's painting of Bertha Morisot from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris the most wonderful place but visited after a long walk along the Seine where my foot was bitten by some insect or other just where my sandal strap rested on my ankle, by the time we'd seen all the galleries my foot was so sore that we had to visit the pharmacy across the street to buy plasters to protect the bite from the pressure of the strap. The 14th century carved rabbit is from St Mary's Church, Beverley, Yorkshire visited in the days when we used to meet with friends and spend the weekend at concerts which were part of Beverley's annual early music festival. The rabbit is said to be the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's White Rabbit in 'Alice in Wonderland'. I've always loved the Art Deco designs of Clarice Cliff and this is one of my favourites - the 1930s Crocus design coffee set in the Potteries Museum, Stoke on Trent.

My next aim it to try and get all my postcards into albums not only to protect them but also to make it easier to look at them and to pack and move them - when the time comes - to our new home. Finally, the post card below was bought from a shop on Mont St Michel, it reminds me of hot sunny days in France and the smell of fresh, apricots on the market stalls there.

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