Wonderful, British, unposted, Raphael Tuck & Sons Oilette postcard of steeplechase horses jumping a woven fence. Card's verso reads "STEEPLECHASING." Series II.-Over the Hurdles. Raphael Tuck & Sons "OILETTE" [Regd.] Postcard 9509. ART PUBLISHERS TO THEIR MAJESTIES THE KING AND QUEEN." Card is in fine vintage condition.
This card has been framed with acid free materials and with two sheets of UV-resistant acrylic so that both sides of the card can be viewed. Ready to hang. Framed piece measures 8 & 7/8" x 6 & 3/4".
Raphael Tuck & Sons 1866-1960’s
London, England and 122 Fifth Ave, New York, NY
This Company was founded in 1866 by Raphael Tuck, a seller of furniture and picture frames. After only a few months in business he expanded to become an important dealer in popular lithographic prints and greeting cards. In 1871, after concentrating on the picture side of the business, Tuck’s three sons joined the firm and they began publishing their first Christmas cards, printed in their native Prussia. When Raphael retired in 1881, his son Adolph took over the family business. He opened offices in New York in 1882 and Paris in 1885 to facilitate orders and distribution. By 1894, a year after they were appointed official printers to Queen Victoria, they printed their first Souvenir Card.
When postal regulations were finally changed after much lobbying by Tuck and others, it provided better opportunities to enter the postcard market. Tuck immediately began the printing of postcards in chromolithography, and their twelve card set of London became the first illustrated card set in England. After opening their new facilities in 1899, Raphael House became the first publisher to print postcards in a larger size that we now call standard. They went on to publish a very wide variety of card types and all sorts of printed matter, including many innovative designs, eventually becoming a major publishing house. Not one to miss an opportunity, Tuck also became a major supplier of postcard accessories such as albums and display frames for cards. While most of Tuck’s cards were printed in Prussia, Saxony, and Holland until the First World War, the designs on them not made at Raphael House usually came from artists local to the subject at hand working through their international branches. After Raphael’s death in 1900 his son Adolph ran the business until his own death in the Great War. The firm was then taken over by his son Reginald. Their London factory and offices were destroyed in 1940 during a German bombing raid, but they began publishing anew after the war. Reginald died in 1954 and the business then passed to his brother Desmond who retired in 1959. Soon after the firm was purchased by Purnell & Sons.
Many problems exist with Tuck’s numbering system, which began in 1898, as it is both sequentially and serially ordered. In addition all cards within a series that was issued in packets carry the same number, and while cards were supposedly issued in series of six some sets have additional cards. The same cards printed for American and British markets often carried different numbers....
The Oilette series, first issued in 1903 depicted painted views and also came in sets. These were Tuck’s most popular cards. In 19005 they began produced many scenes from all over the many colonies of the British Empire in the Wide Wide World series, a name taken from a popular book set. These cards were printed through the tricolor process in England.
Only a few U.S. views were created as Oilettes and they are mostly of New York City consisting of three large series. The Greater New York (series 1038) and New York (series 2430) cards mostly depicted everyday street life while the Cosmopolitan New York series concentrated on immigrant neighborhoods (the Ghetto 1013, Little Italy 1014, Chinatown 1068). These undivided cards often came with large writing tabs.
An additional series of cards labeled Oilette were latter made but they are distinctly different from the earlier cards. These were also printed in tricolor but as bleeds with a textured surface to simulate brush stokes (oilfacsim). Their subjects are more to completely generic and the painting style is more amateurish.
A less commonly seen Oilette type were printed in 1908 on very heavy paper stock with a very wide margin. These cards have a false plate mark but it is a strange combination for the poor tricolor printing quality here does not match up to the fine art status implied by the plate mark.
Tuck produced a great number of novelty cards, some under the Oilette name. Perhaps their largest novelty set was that of paper dolls, which they had printed apart from postcards since 1893. Similar cards of other types of cutout toys were also made.
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Framed to reveal both sides, British, unposted, Tuck Oilette postcard of horses steeplechasing