Monday, December 16, 2013

The Angelus

This is one of a set of postcards depicting the life of a family in their garden full of roses. If only all families could lead such a pleasant life…

Monday, November 11, 2013


We’re almost at the centenary of the very first battles of the First World War. Here are a few pictures to remind us why it was called a “World War”.

English friends

They came from the mountains...

... and from the Steppes.

They came from India (Hindou bakers)...

Not to mention Americans, Australians, Canadians, Africans ….

Friday, November 01, 2013

First Steps

This is sculpture from the 1911 Paris Art Exhibition. It’s called “The First Steps” and is by Gertrude Bricard. I could only find out that she was born in 1881 and died in 1963. If you look in Google images you will see more of her work.

It’s such a graceful sculpture it caught my eye straight away.

I discovered that 1911 at the exhibition was the year of the rise of Cubism, Apollinaire took Picasso to see the cubist works there! Critics thought that too much space had been given to the Cubists who were utterly without importance.

Somewhere in an exhibition room amongst all of the controversy was this lovely peaceful sculpture

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Back to the Future

Way back in around 1900 a series of cards was produced imagining what the women of the future would look like doing ‘a man’s work’. Interestingly enough, most jobs are done by woman these days. Here we have the fire-fighter; I don’t think that her bare arms would be of much use in a fire. I wonder what these men would have thought of her.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The love Barometer

A postcard from around the time of the First World War. Especially for young lovers who are apart from their sweethearts. The barometer is marked, from the bottom to top, with ‘Timid – Joyous – Ardent – Love’. What better way to confirm the feelings of the one you love?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Through the tunnel

This view of the Alps through the tunnel is almost magical. It’s quite common to see this postcard, but not often with a car in the centre. I see that the driver is leaning over looking for something; a marker so that the car is in the right position for the photo perhaps?

Monday, August 05, 2013

A Clear view of the Eiffel Tower

This is a postcard of the Eiffel Tower taken before 1903. It was bought on the 2nd floor of the tower and stamped to prove it. My 22 year old son told me that he thought that the smoke coming out of the chimneys was strange. It wasn’t so long ago that smoke like that was a common site. What I really wanted him to notice was the clarity of the image. Unfortunately my scanner doesn’t do justice, but it gives a good idea as to how in focus the image is.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The heart of Alsace

Alsace is a region next to the German border and for many years passed between Germany and France. The history of Alsace is very complicated, so you can imagine how strongly the people must have felt being passed back and forth. These cards were posted in 1907. The young woman is wearing the traditional bow which became a symbol of the region. Colours and patterns varied from place to place within Alsace.

The three postcards are ‘Pray for France’, ‘God protect France’ and ‘The voices of France’

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Artist's inspiration

Here is a postcard illustrated by the artist Frédéric Régamey. It is an advertisement for Vin Mariani which was Bordeaux wine treated with coca leaves. Here you see examples of before, during and after.  The wine extracted the cocaine from the leaves which very much altered the drink’s effect (Queen Victoria drank it too!!). The wine was exported to the US where it was eventually replaced by Coca-Cola during the prohibition. While researching Vin Mariani and Frédéric Régamy I was interested to discover that he made the drawings from his own autoportrait – useful information for me as his brother was also F Régamy (Félix) and drew in a very similar style…

Frédéric Régamey

The postcard is in very poor condition and is over 110 years old. Thank you to Wikipedia for the drawing and information

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Don't move

This family came from Le Faouët in Brittany and were being photographed in their best clothes. Over 110 years ago having your photograph taken must have been an ordeal. .. and not everyone knew about smiling for the camera.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Some things never change

This is a postcard of a house in La Rochelle, our guess is that it was taken 40 to 50 years ago. I won’t say where it is, but if you’ve been there, you’ve probably walked past it.

Rob went out and took a photograph of it yesterday. I wonder what happened to the children.

Friday, May 24, 2013


These rather sinister cards tell you who you are according to the colour of your eyes. He we have green, brown/hazel?, grey and black eyes… My eyes are grey so mine hold a secret!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I can't resist a hat

Biana Duhamel was a singer and actress. She was seduced by the Baron de l'Espée, who built her a villa which was little more than a gilded cage to keep her in at his disposal. She left him.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Rolling Bridge, Saint-Malo


 This “Bridge” has always fascinated me. It was pulled by chains along the sea bed on what looks like very fragile legs. I wouldn’t like to have been on it on a stormy day. Here the tide is out so that you can see the entire workings of the bridge which connected Saint-Malo to Saint-Servin from 1873 until 1922. The bridge was closed after being hit by the Norwegian ship, Brawn.

Reminds me of the inventions of W. Heath Robinson

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Women at work

Looking at the quality of this postcard, I would say that these women were at work between the wars. Their job was to sort the coal. Can you imagine how dangerous working in a coal mine would have been wearing long dresses or skirts?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter and April 1st

It seems that in 1907 Easter and April 1st fell together, hence the fish and the egg.  Happy Easter and I hope that you don't get caught out tomorrow on April Fool's Day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Decline

Le Déclin was sculpted by Léopold Steiner around 1895. It was placed overlooking the Père Lechaise cemetery.

I’m afraid that this beautiful, but sad statue seems to have come to a sad end. The detective work has been done here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Anyone for Ice-cream?

It’s comforting to know that even 100 years ago you could find some refreshment on a hot day. The enlargement shows the word ‘Sorbets’ on the side of the motorized carriage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yellow Roses

I looked up the meaning of yellow roses on Wikipedia and they seem to represent a lot of negative emotions: jealousy, infidelity, a broken heart, dying love and extreme betrayal. These roses were sent in 1902. The correspondence is full of news and finishes with affectionate kisses but is not signed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bern and Mary Plain: part II

I've written about Bern in Switzerland before. For those who came searching for Mary Plain, this is where she would have lived before the Owl Man came to fetch her. Here is my other post, the comments are especially interesting if you enjoyed the Mary Plain books

This bear is looking at the visitors to the zoo and thinking "What strange people you see in zoos!"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cookery lesson

Not a postcard but lithography, probably included as a gift within a packet. This is N°. 3: Salt and Pepper… serious question. The colours on Lithographies are always beautiful and stand the test of time. This is the prettiest of 4 that I have to sell as a set. It dates from around 1900 as far as I can tell.

 When I googles the images I found all of these