Postcard beauty


Postcard, c1908

When the picture postcard industry started up in about 1900, one of the most popular genres was theatrical cards, with images of stage and music hall stars. These glamorous identities were presented in beautiful studio portraits, usually sepia-tones or hand-coloured, some even with glitter added.

For some time, only the address was permitted on the back of these postcards so that any written message was forced on to the front. Most cards were sent or collected intact with no message, but in some cases writing over the message produced a hybrid image-text “artwork”.

These cards would be lovely without the handwriting, but the texture of the script seems to add something to the image, a veil of words and sentiments.

The cards originate from Barcelona and Constantinople, present day Istanbul, and what journey brought them here I can only imagine. The one below is the subject of a post on this blog from 2013.

Information about this genre of historic postcards can be found at







Postmarked Costa Rica, addressed to Barcelona, Christmas Eve 1905


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