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Sunday, December 8, 2013

From Boom to Bust

Raphael Tuck and Sons
Please note:  I am having issues with centering and sizing my fonts on this post!




I borrowed this book from my beau's sister-in-law.  Below are all of the wonderful and unique color illustration plates from the book: 






















This is an antique British children's book entitled, "Granny's Stories".  There is no publication date. 

It was published by Raphael, Tuck & Sons, "Publishers to Their Majesties, The King & Queen, G.T.R.M. The Prince & Princess of Wales."  I looked online and discovered that this book is part of "Father Tuck's Golden Gift Series", so publication was somewhere between 1900 to 1910. 






The history of Raphael, Tuck & Sons is interesting, historic 


and ultimately, sad.  Raphael Tuck was an untrained artist, 


whose natural talent had a profound impact on not only the 


artist community, but around the world.  He married 


Ernestine Lissner in 1848.  Ernestine was a savvy business-


woman, and together they built an empire, later with the


help of their sons.





In 1866, Raphael and Ernestine opened a business in 

Bishopsgate (a ward of London, England) selling greeting 


cards, frames and pictures.  The business grew like wild-fire 


as they began to sell and distribute postcards.  As you can 


see, there was a vast selection of styles from which to choose.  


















""  -Raphael had received training in graphic arts in his home


 country; and, although he was not an artist himself, he had 


flare for commercial art that prompted his interest in this   


new field. Upon coming to England, he caught the 


imagination of the public in such a way that he was able to 


create a new graphic arts business. He was so successful at 


it that, according to the "London Times", he "opened up a 


new field of labor for artists, lithographers, engravers, 


printers, ink and paste board makers, and several other 


trade classes".  -tuckdb.org



In 1880, the firm opened at a

new location at 72-73 


Coleman Street.  The 


couple's son, Adolph 


initiated a contest for the 


best Christmas card designs,


offering 5,000 guineas.  This 


sky-rocketed the Christmas 


card industry which 


eventually lead to the custom of the Christmas card industry, 


respectfully.  At the end of this contest, the business had 


received over 5,000 entries from both amateur and 


professional artists.   An exhibition was displayed in the 


Dudley Galleries, and huge crowds attended.






"It might be recorded as one of the ironies of history that a 

Jew, a respected Talmudic scholar, would be remembered as 


the chief exponent and promoter of the Christmas card. 


Raphael discovered that Christmas card designs were mainly 


secular; and in spite of the increased religious consciousness 


of the Victorian age, these cards featured the gaiety and 


revelry of the holiday season. In 1871 Tuck supervised the 


design of Christmas cards featuring the religious aspects of 


the season: Jesus Christ, the Holy Pair, the Magi, the 


Nativity scene, as well as the traditional Santa Claus, holly 


and mistletoe." -tuckdb.org












Above:  Illustrations from "Granny's Stories"  - photos by Denise Hinckley
Tuck and sons also published postcards and greeting cards 

for other holidays such as Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, 


New Years, and so on.  Today, there are many online 


(vintage, ephemera) collectors of their work, which is 


frequently bought, sold through online auctions, or simply 


displayed online. 




In another amazing business measure at around 1900, 


Raphael began an 18-month postcard competition for 


"collectors".  This seemed to change the focus of the artist to 


the public, as the collector.  The ploy worked and the public 


reacted - one winner collected 20,364 postcards and another 


winner submitted a whopping 25,239 cards!   Other contests 


continued through about 1914.



One of Tuck's paper doll collections

The company also produced greeting cards and children's 

books, as well as paper dolls and puzzles.  "Movable Books" 


and raised designs, under the name of the Father Tuck 


series.  







Production was greatly 

reduced, but continued 


through World War I and 


into World War II, until the 


night of December 29, 1940,


 when the Nazi's "poured 


tons of bombs on London. 



By morning, Raphael 


House was  shell  


and rubbish. Records


 of seventy-four years and 


40,000 or more original 


pictures and photographs 


by the best artists were in 


ashes."