{ font: $(body.font); color: $(body.text.color); background: $(body.background); padding: opx; $(body.background.override) } expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

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 


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