Archive for the Lithograph Category

Puck and the Witch, 1912

Posted in 10s, Halloween, Lithograph, Postcard on 27 March 2011 by redwitch1

Here is yet another sepia lithographic postcard from The Pink of Perfection series. Not only is it from the same series as last week’s card (“Series 152″), the artwork on this card also contains a Gibson Art Company copyright statement (“©1912 C. R. Gibson”), though it was published under license by the Fairman Company of New York.

The caption on this card reads

Hallowe’en
Puck, the Sprite,
Weaves to night,
Fortunes bright.

Despite the caption, Puck is not in evidence. We have, instead, another pretty witch, with full cheeks, pale skin and hair, in a silken black witch’s hat, holding a JOL. Our winsome witch holds her JOL with all but the little finger of her right hand, which is held aloft. The gesture is subtle (and difficult to see on this card) but full of meaning—at least it is in Australia where the Roads and Traffic Authority used it in an anti-speeding campaign.

How? Well a woman wiggles her little finger at a driver to imply he has a small penis (see this news item here, concerning a road-rage incident it provoked, but not here, the Wikipedia page for single hand gestures!) So, perhaps our witch is saying something about Puck’s penis.**

Moving right along. This card appears to be from the same collection as the one I posted last week, and so it also has a destination or sales area marked on it: “Denmark, No. 4.” Since the one from last week was a suburb of New York I am not quite sure what to make of this.

**I promise that I didn’t set out to get the phrases “Pink of Perfection” and “Puck’s penis” in the same post. Honest.

C. R. Gibson Witch, 1912

Posted in 10s, Halloween, Lithograph, Postcard, SFW on 19 March 2011 by redwitch1

Here is another sepia lithographic postcard published by the Fairman Company of New York in The Pink of Perfection series, in this case from Series 152. As I said a few weeks back (here), Fairman were licensed to print Gibson Art Company designs, and this is one of them. As you can see, painted into the folds of the cape is “©1912 C. R. Gibson.”

In this Gibson design we have a pretty witch, with full cheeks and pale skin, smiling at her reflection in the mirror. (Presumably, when this witch asked the magic mirror on the wall who was the fairest of them all, she got the answer she expected!) The caption reads:

Hallowe’en.
List! You are bid
By fairy and sprite
To find what’s hid
On All Hallow night

Which sounds like a treasure hunt, but perhaps what is hid(den), has been hidden in the mirror—like the philosopher’s stone in The Mirror of Erised.

And if this were the Mirror of Erised, it might explain both why the witch is so gorgeous and why she is so happy. But I digress. Check out the broom-shaped hat-pin thing tucked into her hat-band.

Back in February I did a post of a witch with the same sort of broom-shaped hat-pin (here). I’ve got to get me a hat-pin like this! [see update below]

* * * * *

BTW: This card was part of a large collection that I have mentioned a few times. Doing some digging recently I discovered this entry archived online for a “Group of 7 Halloween postcards … Each card has a punch hole near top. 5 of the 7 has [a] name and number written on back. We think these were destination or sale[s] areas? Cards have all been trimmed on top edge, possibly when they were cut from manufacturing sheet.” This isn’t the way I bought this card, but it—and a few others—have a hole punched into them and a location written on the back, so I gather that the person who bought this lot, broke the cards up and sold them separately.

As you can see, the note on this card reads “Fort Schuyler / No. 4″. Fort Schuyler is in the Bronx in New York. So, perhaps, this card was hocked around the Bronx by salesman no. 4 in 1912.

[UPDATE 2 August 2011: See here for the third example I have of a broom-shaped hat-pin (including an image of all three hat pins together)]

Mystic Witch, 1912

Posted in 10s, Halloween, Lithograph, Postcard, SFW on 5 March 2011 by redwitch1

This sepia lithographic postcard appeared in “Series 153″ published by the Fairman Company of New York. It is stamped with their logo which reads “The [flower] of Pink Perfection. Regd The Fairman Co. N.Y.” (if you read strictly left-to-right) or “The Pink of Perfection …” (if you read one side of the flower-logo and then the other), which makes more sense.

According to Mashburn, many of the designs that were used by the Fairman Company are the same as those used by the Gibson Art Company, but I have only see this one—and the cards I will be posting from “Series 152″—with Pink of Perfection logos. (Fantasy Postcards: A Comprehensive Reference (1996), 237, 239.) BTW The logo used on the previous series (R) was similar, but not identical, to the one on this card (L), as you can see above.

This card was in the same fabulous collection as the one I posted last week. The seller claims that the artist is Kathryn Elliott and that this is one of a seven card set. Although there is a hint of a signature beneath the really cool owl (below), I can “neither confirm nor deny” that it is the signature of Kathryn Elliott!

If it is Elliott—and Elliott was one of The Fairman Co. stable of artists—she was certainly gifted. The monochrome shading is subtle but hugely effective. Look at the face of the witch and the glowing eyes of her familiar!

The caption for the card reads:

The black cat wears its mystic ring,
The witch bat spreads its fearsome wing,
The goblins weirdly chant and sing,
On HALLOWE’EN.

I am not sure how a cat wears a “mystic ring”—unless the mystic ring is the crescent moon that surrounds both the cat and the witch. The “witch bat” is pretty cure rather than “fearsome,” and there is not much evidence of goblins weirdly chanting. Still, the whole poem has a lovely rhythm and the witch is both elegant and beautiful, so I am not complaining!

[And yes, I realise that the witch isn't described as "mystic" on this card, but (1) after 353 posts it is difficult to come up with new post-titles and (2) it is my blog so I can do whatever I want! Just saying.]

A Joyful Hallowe’en, 1913

Posted in 10s, Lithograph, Postcard, SFW on 24 January 2011 by redwitch1

This postcard has a copyright mark “© H. L. W.” These are the initials of H. L. Woehler, from New York—though the card was printed in Germany.

The back is undivided but I have another postcard from this series by H. L. Woehler that is postmarked 12 October 1912 at Natick. MA. That card is described as a “Handembossed Postcard,” which seems to mean that it is hand painted or finished. This one is also “Handembossed” [sic]. In a moment it will become clear why I mention this other card at the outset.

As you can see, the front of the card has the caption “A Joyful Hallowe’en” in gold lettering above a lovely young blonde-haired witch in a loose, red, Grecian-style sleeveless dress and cape. She is showing off a broad expanse of pale skin around the neck and shoulders as she leans back into large, smiling JOL. She has a wide-brimmed, pointed black witch’s hat and a broom with a rather thin and curved handle. The card is textured and has a red edge.

Written around the artwork and caption on this face of the postcard is some doggrel verse inviting the un-named recipient to a Halloween party, followed by an address. The verse reads (as far as I can tell):

The old Witch bids her guests arrive
On Hallowe’en, if they would thrive.
Their fortunes then she’ll gladly brew
Within her pot so black of hue;
A Pumpkin Elf will quick preside
O’er feast and frolic. Woe betide
All those who miss the broomstick dance,
Or candle March! Don’t take the chance!

At the foot of the card we have the date and the name and address of the sender “Thursday Eve / October 30 8.30PM” and “Elizabeth Hayes Wilkinson / 526 N. Negley Avenue” (which is in Pittsburgh, PA).

As it happens, 30 October fell on a Thursday in 1890, 1902, 1913, and 1919. Since the verso of the card is undivided, and the inscription is on the front, it might seem safe to assume that the card was published before ca. 1907 when cards started to be published with a divided back (that is, that it was published in 1890 or 1902).

But, as I said at the outset, this card is part of a series which can be dated to 1912, so—despite the undivided back and inscriptionon the front—it probably dates to 1913. Another feature supporting this date is the red edge, which appears (among my cards at least) only on those from 1910–1913. So, I reckon this particular broomstick dance occurred on 30 October 1913.

The Witches Dream Book, 1914

Posted in 10s, Book, Lithograph, SFW on 12 January 2011 by redwitch1

This little volume (127 x 105mm; roughly 4 x 5 inches) is from a series of “Joke Books” published by I. & M. Ottenheimer in Baltimore, MD. The title is The Witches Dream Book and it is no. 31 of at least 45 titles that includes New Irish Jokes, New Hebrew Jokes, New Coon Jokes, even an Italian Dialect Joke Book—something to offend everyone! (**see below)

The only other titles I’d want to see from this series are Saucy Jokes and Funny Epitaphs, indicating that my weaknesses are for sex and death. But the titles are probably the most creative and interesting part of these ten-cent “Pocked Editions”; just as the cover art is the most interesting part of The Witches Dream Book and Complete Fortune Teller: The Correct Interpretation of Dreams. Together with Fortune-Telling, Etc., Etc.

The Witches Dream Book contains seventeen pages of dream-symbols (“Water. If anyone dreams of water it signifies abundance and fruitfulness”—an interpretation which was obviously not written with the Brisbane floods in mind), there follows seventeen pages of “The Oraculum; Or, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Book of Fate,” then twenty-two pages of the “Science of Foretelling Events by Cards” (“The Five of Diamonds. Shows you a well assorted marriage with a mate who will punctually perform the hymenal duties …”—which, of course, everybody desires).

Hymenal duties aside, our witch seems to be a slightly more decently-clothed version of the Pears’ Soap Witch of 1899, with her billowing veil, although this off-the-shoulder piece is still distinctly risqué for 1914. The rose-bloom patterned hennin (high-pointed witch’s hat) is delightful, as is the unflappable cat. It is a shame that the printing is so poor and that the artist was working on such a small scale, but we should be grateful that the artwork is so much better than the contents!

(** Remember, this is 1914, almost a century ago now. It was the era of vaudeville, silent films and Charlie Chaplin—see the back cover advert below—and it was the eve of WWI. Tempus fugit.)

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