This is one of two Ethel Larcombe's colorful illustrations I have available. This one is entitled "The Sonnet." Note the artist's monogram in the bottom right corner: L and E inside a square.
Ethel Larcombe was born in Exeter, England, in 1876 and lived there all her life. She died in 1940. Some references list her death in 1965 but that is Ethel Thompson Larcombe, a famous British tennis player. Larcombe was very successful in her art career and was known internationally. Although a prolific artist, her work is hard to find. Between 1985 and 2009, seven of her prints were sold through the likes of Sotheby's, Bonham's and Christie's with an average price of just over $1200.
This is a very rare and hard-to-find postcard, and I don't toss the word "rare" around lightly.
I'm not positive but I think "The Sonnet" likely was published in Favorite Fairy Tales (see detailed info below). This illustration has a charming medieval or renaissance design, a handmaiden singing to her lady sitting in garden. Definitely a fairy tale atmosphere.
"Ethel Larcombe’s (1876-1940) book designs are among the most recognizable and sought after from the Arts and Craft movement (circa 1860 and 1910). Her art nouveau styling was influenced by Edward Burne Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and contains elements of Japonisme. She was a prolific winner of art and design competitions run by the influential The Studio magazine that was also instrumental in introducing the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This brought her to attention of the Art Director at Blackie & Son, Talwin Morris, who commissioned her to design around twenty gilt book bindings for Blackie and its subsidiary The Gresham publishing company between 1904 and 1912." (A special thanks to the Book Storey blog in the U.K. for this information.)
Printed by the E.W. Savory company of Bristol, England, described by Postcard Mania web site as "a printing and fine art publishing company founded in 1889. They used the chromolithography process for the production of postcards." Indeed, your eyes are not deceiving you. The colors true are rich and saturated, from the cool blue and violets in the singer's dress to the deep red in the lady's bodice.
Savory's business folded in 1920, so this fact, along with the history of Ms. Larcombe's career, helps us date this card to the early 1900s.
Slightest hints of wear on the corners but overall, for its age, this card in in near mint condition.
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