Transportation in the Edwardian Era!

Posted by on September 1st, 2010 at 9:12 AM

The picture is from William Ouellette’s Fantasy Postcards, which says, “tinted photograph; Germany; N.P.G.; circa 1905.” I believe that “N.P.G.” means the publisher.

And by H. J. Ford, an illo for the German folk tale “Lucky Luck” (not a typo). It appeared in 1903 in The Crimson Fairy Book

From Punch in 1906, a cartoon: “Probable Scene in the Proximity of Police Trap, Now That the Practice of Warning Motorists Has Been Declared Legal.” I can make out “Harrison” in the signature. (update, It’s Charles Harrison, says the invaluable Jason M. in Comments.) The cartoon is a good example of the visual perkiness that shows up in Punch cartoons as one moves from the Edwardian era onward; at least, this perkiness shows up if one reads A Century of Punch Cartoons, edited by R. E. Williams.

© 1955 by Bradbury, Agnew & Company, Ltd.

Victorian Punch cartoons tended toward visual solidity. In this cartoon the image’s mass is repeatedly broken up: one sign, another, another, a balloon, a man with a bullhorn, a man with drum and cymbals, etc. The items are all different from one another and they’re set vertically against the strong right-to-left progression created by the direction of the car (not to mention the left-to-right progression created by signs using a Western alphabet). Some of the items are also set against each other so as to goose matters even more: for example, over toward the right, the artificial pointing hand in opposition to the billowing sign. Just the balloon’s wiggly bit of string and the sketched-in tree and grass have more visual liveliness than can be found in entire cartoons from the magazine’s Victorian period.

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4 Responses to “Transportation in the Edwardian Era!”

  1. Jason M. says:

    Charles Harrison is who did that Punch cartoon. It’s from the November 14, 1906 issue.

    I’m guessing NPG is the National Portrait Gallery of London. Maybe they either published the postcard or own the original photograph? Or both?

  2. Tom Crippen says:

    Thanks for the i.d. (Right down to the issue!) How do you get your information?

    I’m going to stick with N.P.G. being the publisher, just because I remember the book in question (Fantasy Postcards) as putting publisher info right in that spot. Okay, also it seems unlikely that the National Portrait Gallery would have a lot of funky postcards in its collection. But who knows?

  3. Jason M. says:

    Yeah, I’m totally wrong about NPG! After actually looking around a bit, instead of just guessing, it turns out to stand for “Neue Photographische Gesellschaft,” which was indeed a major publisher of postcards until 1922. It was based in Berlin.

    As far as how I get my information. . . Well, I work in an academic library, so I have access and training in how to use various research tools. And that’s pretty much it.

  4. Tom Crippen says:

    Well, it sure comes in handy.