01 October, 2007

Raphael Tuck and Sons Postcards

Ever since I started collecting postcards, I have included postcard paintings in my must-haves. When I saw Postcard 9528: Harry Payne's Nearly at the Top of the Hill in an antique shop, I immediately purchased it. Another reason I purchased the card is its size. It is smaller than any of my other cards, measuring only 5.5" by 3.5". I also took the challenge of gathering information about the painter, Harry Payne, the manufacturer, Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd, and what an oilette might be.

I first checked Wikipedia to find out who Harry Payne was. Unfortunately the site does not have any entry for the Harry Payne I am looking. A
more thorough search on the internet only returned the following result (no other information found):

Henry Payne (1858-1927) is an artist from Catford. Harry was a prolific military artist. He also painted several series of Oilette postcards Raphael Tuck.

Wikipedia, however, does have a sentence long description of what an oilette is.

Oilette - A trade name used by Raphael Tuck to describe postcards reproduced from original paintings.

Postcard 9390: Harry Payne's The Road Past the Farm

Postcard 9528: Harry Payne's The Pond in the Lane

Postcard 9528: Harry Payne's Nearly at the Top of the Hill

I found information about the "Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd" company from several sites, which I have summarized below:

Tuck's Post Card

Raphael Tuck was born August 7, 1821 in Koschmin, a small village in Eastern Prussia (now Poland) and arrived in England with his wife, Ernestine Lissner, and seven children in 1865. In 1866 Raphael and Ernestine opened a small shop where they sold prints and frames. They also started publishing lithographs chromolithographs and all kind of printed novelties.

Registered Trademark

In 1880 the Company registered the trademark with the “Easel and Palette” along with the inscription “The World Art Service.” From 1881 on the Company name was “Raphael Tuck and Sons." In 1893 Queen Victoria granted the Company her “Warrant of Appointment” in recognition of the publishing of her letter to the nation on the death of the Duke of Clarence. Every reigning head would later honor the Company at least one time. That’s why their products are best dated by the reigning monarch they mentioned on most of their printing.

Royal Warrant of Appointment

Tuck’s Oilette cards were of a very high quality, looking like the real oil painting. He issued his first picture post card in 1894, with a small picture of Mount Snowdon in the upper left corner. The first series of numbered postcards was printed in 1898 which was a set of 12 lithographed vignette views of London, numbered 1 to 12 with the "Tower of London" being postcard #1.

On December 29, 1940 London was bombed and the Raphael House completely destroyed. After Desmond Tuck retired in 1959 the Company changed hands several times. They still produced high quality printing, but missed the ‘magic’.

SOURCES:
Henry Payne, Artist
Oilette Wikipedia Entry

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