Category Archives: 3. 20th Century Photographers and Postcards

3. 20th Century Photographers and Postcards

I had a brief look at postcards in general in Exercise 3.2  and one of the first actions I took, after deciding to base my Assignment around Silent Pool , was to search on eBay to see what old postcards I could find. I found plenty including a couple from Albury’s own photographer and postcard creator!

Some of them were postmarked and with hand-written messages.  What was interesting was that none of the messages mention a visit to Silent Pool or Albury.  It could be they were bought as a souvenir – perhaps in Albury or Guildford – and then used as a letter card; thus appearing to confirm Mary Warner Marien comments that notes jotted on postcards were “[… ] casual hellos, like e-mailed friendship cards” (2010:169).

I gave some thought about how to present these postcards here – chronology, similar scenes, individual photographers, division between messages/postmarks and unfranked.  I decided to divide by photographer and then known chronology or not.

Percy Lloyd, Albury

James Edward Percy Lloyd (known as Percy Lloyd) was born in 1865 in  Shere, Surrey and became Albury’s postmaster and village photographer. He came across printed postcards when he visited Germany in about 1900, became convinced that these could become a success in Britain and shared his idea with Frank Lasham, Guildford’s leading stationer and publisher of local guidebooks (Lasham also published Martin Tupper’s book).  Lasham eventually agreed after Lloyd said “Will you do it if I supply you 12,000 cards and charge you nothing until you’ve sold them all at a penny each?”.  Lloyd found a German printer of collotypes and his earliest known card was franked in August 1901 – well ahead of most British competition. His early output included delicately coloured tuppenny cards, hand-tinted by his wife, Lily, and Augusta Warren of Coomb End, Shere, and he also did some enhancement.

His studio with its one-time post office still stands in Church Lane, Albury and its wall clock now hangs in the village hall – at least it did in 2006 when this article appeared online   An interview with Percy Lloyd’s son can be heard here   (it’s quite long).

I didn’t know at the time of obtaining them but Lloyds postcards are quite sought after so I was lucky.  Neither of the two below have messages/are postmarked so dates are unknown. Both have a different treatment and the hand-tinting is quite obvious on the first one.

 

 

Francis Frith

Francis Frith was born in 1822 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire . He has been described as multi-talented, founding his photographic company in 1850, having already established a successful grocery business. His three pioneering expeditions to the Middle East established him as an outstanding pioneer photographer and the photographs he took were marketed as stereoscopic views. When he returned from his last expedition in 1860, he married and settled in Reigate, Surrey and set out to create a photographic record of Britain.  Frith soon employed a team of company photographers, working under his direction and to his specific standards. He firmly believed that photography was a work of art, being concerned to select viewpoints and lighting conditions that showed subjects to their advantage.  After Frith died in 1898 his sons continued his photographic record into the 20thCentury.

By 1902 the Post Office had approved the use of postcards with a divided back to enable address and message on one side and an illustration on the other and the Frith Company was the market leader in this field. Comprehensive information about the present Company and the Frith Archive can be found here

Four of these cards locate Silent Pool in Shere which is just down the main road from Albury. The post card of Percy Lloyd’s house is a glossy print, whereas the rest are matte, and I think the two coloured ones could be hand-tinted.

 

 

Individually named

 

From “Idle Moments” Series, stamped 1904.  All I can find that seems relevant is a reference to free postcards that were given away with a magazine of that name. This one is certainly quite thin card.

 

 

Postmarked 1917 and printed by the Photocrom Co. Ltd, London and Tunbridge Wells.  See here   which refers to the use of a Swiss photocrom process but with a softer and reduced palett (sic). The company’s Celesque series were printed in tricolor. See here as well   – a very useful site.

 

 

From the Pictograph Publishing Company – “Oilograph” – Beauty Spots of England Series. All I could find was a comment on a blog post  discussing chromolithographs – the comment stated that an oilograph is not the same as a chromolithograph, being a process that applies oil based paints to an image which has been created photographically. The postcard does look like a miniature oil painting

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Woolstone Brothers postcard from the Milton Series – unposted. The Company used many different card types in many different techniques. This one looks like a glossy photography so maybe it was a “glossette”

Judges

Fred Judge was an English photographer who took photographs all over the British Isles. He was born in Wakefield but bought a shop in Hastings, with his brother, in 1902.  The brothers set up as photographers and photographic dealers under the name of Judge’s Photo Stores. There is a history of the Company here . Judge began producing postcards in 1903 to a very high artistic standard, having success with the Bromoil Process which gave his images , ‘ [….] their strongly impressionistic nature, rich in depth and tone”, enabling him to win many medals and hold one-man exhibitions in London, Washington, New York and Tokyo. The company he founded is still a family concern.

I found this one particularly interesting due to its abstract effect; without the caption it could be a photograph of anywhere. Unposted.

Publisher unknown

 

Postmarked 1903 and the earliest one. I was intrigued to see the sightseers gazing from the building at the side of the pool.  The reflections are excellent. Could this be an unlabelled early Judges’s postcard?

 

An interesting one of the cottage, with a glossy finish.  It looks as if the title has been scratched into the negative . Post-marked 1910

 

This is another intriguing one, impressionistic, glossy and with good contrast.  It has REAL PHOTO POST CARD printed on the back but no publisher’s name and it is unposted so difficult to hazard a guess at the date. The card is labelled “The Silent Pool, Albury” 84. S&W Series.I found a useful article here   . I looked again on eBay and there are other Real Photo Post Cards  with S&W Series by the title with an indication of around 1910 but no evidence for that.  The back of the car does look quite old though – grey and faded round the edges.

Review

I managed to obtain quite a variety of postcards and enjoyed the research.  It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Percy Lloyds’s postcards were less easy to come by so I was lucky there. The building by the side of the pool was obviously quite an attraction for photographers (and visitors probably). It’s no longer there – what could it be and where was it actually located?

 

References

Marien, M.W. (2010) Photography: A Cultural History3rdEdition.  London: Laurence King

http://www.metropostcard.com/publishersp1.html

http://www.metropostcard.com/guiderealphoto.html

http://www.metropostcard.com/publishersw.html

https://antiqueprintsblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/chromolithography.html

https://chadbourneantique.com/products/set-of-two-uk-photochrom-co-celesque-series-postcards-1920

https://web.archive.org/web/20090627091617/http://www.judges.co.uk/aboutUs.html

https://www.francisfrith.com/pages/frith-welcome