Review: The Brilliant British Humour in the Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard: 1840-1950s

Monthly Talk – July 2021

by Dr James Taylor

Dr James Taylor, a former auctioneer and curator of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, will talk about artist-drawn comic postcards, the most popular art form from the Edwardian era to the outbreak of World War II. They entertained, inspired, instructed, motivated, persuaded and lifted-up the spirits. Discover the popular subjects and styles by the masters of the medium such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Donald McGill and Fred Spurgin; and the reasons why their popularity waned with the British public. James has been collecting postcards for more than 45 years.


Thank technology for Zoom meetings but damn it for making the British holiday postcard the endangered  social habit affectionately  charted by Dr James Taylor in  an  engaging gallery of  romance, history and humour, namely our peculiarly comic world of nudge ‘n’ wink  Donald McGill (1875-1962, spawning 12,000 designs),  prodigious master of the double entendre. Artists such as “cuties” creator Mabel Lucie Attwell and John (“bracing Skegness”) Hassall are  also still among collectables, and Bruce Bairnsfather’s  trench  banter and the recruiting stare  of Kitchener are timeless WWI classics.

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