Archive for the chromolithograph Category

Welcome to the Walpurgishalle, 1901

Posted in 00s, 10s, Brocken, chromolithograph, Postcard, SFW on 30 April 2011 by redwitch1

Here is something special for Walpurgisnacht. As I wrote here (five years ago!):

Walpurgisnacht is celebrated in Germany on 30 April (Beltane or May Eve). On this night witches are thought to fly to a plateau on Brocken Mountain deep in the Harz Mountains … The plateau is known as the Hexentanzplatz, the witches’ dancing place … it is here that Goethe set the witches’ sabbat in his Faust (1808, 1832). By the turn of the century a thriving tourist industry had prompted the publication of numerous witch-themed postcards.

You will find these postcards here, here, here and here. Later in 2006 I explained that, “By the 1920s, another tourist gimick was added: Brocken ‘money’ (Brocken or Thale Notgeld).” You will find images of Brocken money here and here.

[Walpurgishalle, 1901 (postcard no. 7)]

And now I can add the Walpurgis Hall (Walpurgishalle), which was built at the Hexentanzplatz by the Berlin architect Bernhard Sehring in old-Germanic style in 1901. Carved across the front of the building above the doorway to the Walpurgishalle is a frieze. The head of Wodan crowns the pediment, flanked by the Ravens Hudin and Munin (which symbolize his thoughts and memories) and the wolves and Gari Freki, who are his guards and agents.

[Walpurgishalle, 1910]

Today the Walpurgishalle is a museum. Hermann Hendrich (1854–1931) created five large paintings for the interior of the hall showing scenes from the Goethe’s Faust. These are

[1] Irrlichtertanz (Erring light dance) [postcard no. 3]
[2] Mammonshöhle (Mammon’s Cavern) [postcard no. 5]
[3] Hexentanz (witch dance) [postcard no. 6]
[4] Windsbraut (wind bride) [postcard no. 4]
[5] Gretchenerscheinung or Gretchentragödie (Tragedy of Gretchen) [postcard no. 3]

[Irrlichtertanz (postcard no. 2)]
[Gretchenerscheinung (postcard no. 3)]
[Windsbraut (postcard no. 4)]
[Mammonshöhle (postcard no. 5)]
[Hexentanz (postcard no. 6)]

Reproductions of these paintings were published in a book (which I don’t have) and a series of postcards (which were hugely popular, and which I do have). Three more images appear in the postcard series:

[6] “Hexenfahrt” (witch journey) [postcard no. 1]
[7] Walpurgishalle—Hexentanzplatz [postcard no. 7]
[8] “Sternenreigen” (star dance [lit. roundelay]) [postcard no. 8]

[Hexenfahrt (postcard no. 1)]
[Sternenreigen (postcard no. 8)]

For an insight into the paintings, which can be seen much more clearly in the photos by Raymond Faure. You will find a page of his excellent photos of the Walpurgishalle here. This panorama below might help orient you.

[Panorama of the interior of the Walpurgishalle]

Never Halloween Without a Witch, 1911

Posted in 10s, Advertising, chromolithograph, Costumes, Halloween, Magazine, SFW on 2 April 2011 by redwitch1

The October 1911 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal contains a colour spread under the title “The Halloween Masquerade” with eight designs by Adrienne Brugard and drawings by M. E. Musselman.

The eight designs are: Yankee Doodle Boy, A Very Demure Goose Girl, Up-to-Date Aeroplane Girl, a Witch, Bo-Peep Hunting her Sheep, Pumpkin and Lettuce Girls, A Calico Clown. The spread is promoted in these words:

For a jolly time on Hallowe’en give a masquerade party. How shall I dress? is always the first thought on receiving an invitation to such a party. The girls and boys will look well in these fanciful costumes, some of which suggest others which would be just as quaint and humorous. Ghosts and goblins might accompany the Witch, and Little Boy Blue and other nursery-rhyme characters might go along with Bo-Peep. If the dominos do not sufficiently conceal the features suitable masks may be obtained for a number of these costumes. The more one’s identity is concealed the greater will be the fun.

The attenuated broom carried by the witch suggests that M. E. Musselman was not familiar with the object itself, but the costume is cute. Note the short cape, which turns up in some graphics from the 40s and 50s (here and here). BTW: I love the Lettuce Girl (below)—I can’t understand why this costume has waned in popularity since 1911!

At the foot of the page are two paragraphs (which I have transcribed) that explain you could buy the pattern to three of the costumes. For women, the witch costume was the only one available, men, could choose between the Yankee Doodle Boy and the Clown outfit. It would be nice to think that this meant that the witch costume reigned supreme at Halloween, for women of all sizes (i.e., with bust measurements from 32 to 44 inches). But contemporary photos suggest that the Calico Clown was more popular with women than the witch outfit. And many of the witch outfit people actually wore were hybrids with the clown outfit. After all, it was easy to make!

I haven’t given up hope of finding a surviving pattern for this design, or a costume based on it, or—better still—a contemporary photo of someone wearing this Adrienne Brugard’s creation. Until I do, Musselman’s artwork will have to suffice.

* * * * *

Patterns (including Guide-Chart) for the numbered designs shown on this page can be supplied at fifteen cents for each number, post-free. Pattern No. 4112 [Calico Clown] comes in four sizes: 26, 30, 34 and 38 inches; No. 6409 [Yankee Doodle Boy] in six sizes: 24, 26, 32, 36, 40 and 44 inches chest measure; and No. 6407 [Witch] in seven sizes: 32 to 44 inches bust measure. Order from your nearest dealer in patterns; and by mail, giving number of pattern and bust measure, and inclosing the price to the Pattern Department, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Philiadelphia.

Note—If you want any further information about the costumes shown on this page send an addressed, stamped envelope to the Fashion Editors, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Philiadelphia, who will tell you how to make these costumes, suggesting substitute patterns for any of the unnumbered designs shown on this page. Several of the costumes may be made from discarded dresses, with only a small expenditure for accessories.

Witches, Old Style and New, 1913

Posted in 10s, chromolithograph, Halloween, Postcard, SFW on 27 February 2011 by redwitch1

This is one of a group of postcards that nearly bankrupted me late last year. But what could I do? Like the artwork of Samuel L. Schmucker, the postcards created by Ellen H. Clapsaddle (1865–1934) are some of the most sought-after Halloween collectors’ items. (According to J. L. Mashburn, it is one of her cards that has the highest value of all Halloween postcard. Fantasy Postcards: A Comprehensive Reference (1996), 235) And, although her cards featured in many works on Halloween collectibles, and many collector’s guides wax lyrical about them, I am assuming many of the readers of my blog haven’t seen this one because it does not feature a child—her signature composition element.

These top-end cards do not come up for sale very often, and almost never in this sort of condition. Fortunately for me, it appeared as part of a huge collection that only nearly bankrupted me—because I was only interested in sexy witch cards, and had many of these already—whereas the sale had clearly already bankrupted everyone else. In other words, everyone else blew their dough at the start of the sale, I paced myself and got almost everything I wanted. And I got them at reasonable prices.

This card is one of six in the “Series No. 4439″ published by International Art Publishing Co.” of New–York and Berlin (for one of the others in the series, see here). It was printed in Germany of course on one of the finest chromolithographic presses. Ellen Clapsaddle’s artwork is rendered in colour in near-perfect benday tints (even more perfect than this one). Clapsaddle spent years in Germany working directly and closely with the German engravers, and her expertise shows in this card.

This composition is a study in contrasts. Depicted are two women. The caption reads: “For Hallowe’en. ‘Old Style and New'” On the left—as you see at the top of this post—we have a classic hag-witch. Classic, from the tip of her pointed black hat to the underside of her silver-buckled old-style shoes. She has a hooked nose, long grey woolen dress and white cotton apron, a red cape with a wide white collar, a black cauldron and a black cat. All she is missing is a wand, but perhaps she favours potions over incantations.

On the right we have a beautiful young witch, fashionably dressed in blue silk gown, edged in white fur. She has a ruffle and muff, a dark blue, felt cloche hat with red ostrich plumes, and short curly hair—though not bobbed. This style of fitted, bell-shaped hat was first founded in 1908, but didn’t really become popular until the 1920s. So, in 1913, it was very avant-garde!

(According to Wikipedia, different styles of ribbons offered coded messages about the wearer: a knot signaled a girl was married or betrothed, a flamboyant bow that she was single and interested in mingling. It is not clear what two, erect and red, ostrich plumes might mean, except, perhaps, “watch out”!)

Note: this is not an example of “the hag is a hottie,” like my card from last week, because in this case we do not have a hottie pretending to be a hag. That is, we do not have a pretty witch wearing a hag mask, or a pretty young women dressed as a witch, with a hag mask on hand, but not being worn.

In the examples I gave last week, the artist couldn’t let go of the idea that a witch must be a hag, so they do a striptease-style “reveal”—something along the lines of “beneath this hideous exterior is a gorgeous young woman. You may be disgusted now, but wait until I get her mask/clothes off.”

Of course, the reverse of this pornotopic fantasy is the ancient fear that the “beneath this gorgeous exterior is a hideous old woman.” So, “the hag is a hottie” isn’t only artistic conservatism (I have to show the mask to you or you won’t know that this hottie is a witch, because a sexy witch is so hard for you to imagine), but I think that is part of it.

In this composition the artist juxtaposes and equates a hag and a hottie. That is, Ellen Clapsaddle is saying, this pretty young woman of today is a witch. Her arts of allure are of precisely the same order as the magic of this woman from yesteryear. The cloche hat and red ostrich plumes of the fashionably-dressed young woman are as powerful and as useful for creating magic as the cauldron—and perhaps the cat—of the old woman etc etc. Of course, I may be over thinking it but hey, that is my job!

A Jolly Good Witch, 1922

Posted in 20s, chromolithograph, Halloween, Postcard, SFW on 21 February 2011 by redwitch1

The caption on this “Halloween Greetings” postcard is “Wishing you a jolly good time.” There is no publisher credited on the verso, just a series number (“Halloween Series No. 42”) and the statement “Made in U.S.A.”—which is likely to be untrue. J. L. Mashburn estimates that “at least ninety percent of all Halloween cards and almost all of the 1900–1915 era, were printed in Germany by the great German lithographers, and were done exclusively for the American trade” (Fantasy Postcards: A Comprehensive Reference (1996), 235).

A couple of specialists claim that this card was printed by E. Nash Co. of New York, but as I have explained previously, Nash was only in business from 1908–10 and “since Nash cards are highly sought after and expensive, dealers have a vested interest in attributing anonymous cards to Nash, even ones postmarked over a decade later!” The seller of this card went further and claimed that that the art is a “Schmucker-style lady-witch”—which rivals Arnie’s English-is-not-my-first-language effort: “Don’t be economic girlie men.”

What I can tell you is that Thelma posted this card from Wolfeboro, NH to Mr P. Nelson in East Wolfeboro on the afternoon of 30 October 1922. I can also tell you that Thelma had excellent taste in halloween postcards, because—as you can see—the vignette on this card is stunning.

One thing to note about the artwork is the broom-shaped hat-pin thing tucked into the hat-band. I have seen this in a few places now, but it seems that I have not published any of them yet, so you’ll just have to take my word for it: this is regular theme in witchy images! [see update below]

Regular visitors to this blog will, however, have seen the beauty-with-a-hag-mask theme before (or, as I like to think of it, the “OMG the hag is a hottie” theme). Two of the best examples of this are this one from 1949, where a woman, on her way to a Halloween fancy dress ball, has a hag mask hanging on her wrist, and this stunner from 1964, depicting a naked witch, bathing in her cauldron, who has taken off and hung up her hag mask—along with the rest of her clothes.

* * * * *

Because I was so taken with this image, I photoshopped the caption away and re-oriented the image. I am not sure why I do these things, some images just cry out for it …

[UPDATE 2 August 2011: I have now posted these. See here and here (which includes an image of all three broom-shaped hat-pins together)]

Schmucker’s Sexy Witch, 1911: The Holy Grail of Halloween Collectors

Posted in 10s, chromolithograph, Halloween, Postcard, SFW on 2 December 2010 by redwitch1

If you look at this page on you will find a few comments about this card that explains the title of this post.

If I’m only going to offer a few Halloween images, they might as well be the best, and it doesn’t get any better than the combination of [the artwork of] Samuel Schmucker and [the printing of] John Winsch. These are pretty much the holy grail of Halloween collectors, and they are stunning cards … This image is superb – colors, graphics, content.

If this sounds like hyperbole have a good look at this Samuel L. Schmucker artwork. This particular card shows

a beautiful young witch on her broomstick, dressed in a flowing green gown with goblins appliquéd on the skirt, draped in a purple cloak, and wearing a strange purplish dunce’s cap with red suns and stars. There’s an owl hitching a ride on her broom. Behind her is a full moon with a rather leering expression, and the sky is lovely with stars.

(For “strange purplish dunce’s cap” read “gorgeous silver witch’s hat”—but otherwise it is a good description.)

The writer on doesn’t mention that the card is embossed, which is not very obvious in scans, or the effect that this has on the lovely skin tones of our witch’s rounded arms, the rippled skirt, the layered feathers and the rough brush of the broom.

The caption reads:

All Hallowe’en
When the world is wrapped in slumber,
And the moon is sailing high,
If you peep between the curtains
You’ll see witches riding by.

The card was posted by “Aunty LuLu” from Azusa to “Miss Julia Heslop” in Pasadena, California on 26 November 1912. As you can see, the copyright date is 1911 but the publisher (John Winsch) was not going to give up on such a popular design and it must have been re-issued from year to year because I have seen franking dates into the late teens.

These cards are featured in almost every work on Halloween collectibles, and many collector’s guides wax lyrical about them. Lisa Morton in The Halloween Encyclopedia (2003), 141, writes:

Today these [post]cards are highly prized Collectibles, none more so than those manufactured by John Winsch; Winsch cards featuring the artwork of Samuel L. Schmucker are small masterpieces of art nouveau, combining enchanting women, Halloween symbols, and high quality prinnting, often with gelatin finishes.

J. L. Mashburn in Fantasy Postcards: A Comprehensive Reference (1996), 235, writes:

The classical J. Winsch cards, illustrating the beautiful works of S. L. Schmucker … are definitely the most sought after of all that were published.

As the writer on says “not only are these cards terrifically expensive, they are darned difficult to find no matter what your budget!” In 1996, Mashburn valued the cards at USD100; I have seen them regularly pass USD200; and one particularly lovely one, with an embossed border, went for USD1000!

I have long wanted this particular Winsch/Schmucker card—I adore the green dress—but there are a few other Schmucker designs that feature witches. The only problem is, because they are so well know, highly prized, and often reproduced, there didn’t seem much point struggling to get one and blog it, because the chances are you have all seen it before. And when I do my book, the publisher will easily be able to obtain images and rights to reproduce all the Winsch/Schmucker cards.

And, as my regular readers will know, I have chased down the more obscure witchy material first. But, I kept watch for over five years and recently picked this one up at a reasonable price. It could be as many more years before I get any of the others, and I doubt I will ever see another one under USD100. So, enjoy—and possess yourself of patience! (Or become a ninja delivery-person. The work is light and the pay is good!)

Witchy Charms, 1910

Posted in 10s, chromolithograph, Halloween, SFW on 10 November 2010 by redwitch1

The caption for this rather battered postcard is “The Harmless Charms of Halloween”; half-hidden beneath the caption is a series number in red “6504”; it was posted at Knox, in Pennsylvania, at 1PM on 29 October 1910.

There is no clue to the artist, but I can tell you what is going on. Our pretty black/auburn-haired witch is performing divination for the blonde-haired woman in a fetching green dress. We know that she is a witch because of her lovely red-hat and her happy and affectionate black-cat familiar.

On the ground at her feet is a tub of water, recently used to bob for apples it seems, judging by the three left-over apples that sit on the ground in front of it. The witch has an iron spoon in her right hand and is pouring molten lead into cold water.

The lead has been melted on the roaring fire in the background. When the lead solidifies in the tub of water different shapes are formed in which the future is revealed. The process is explained in a poem in The Jolly Hallowe’en Book (1937), which is quoted in Diane C. Arkins, Halloween: Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear (2000), 77:

Melted lead poured out in water
Strange shapes will assume,
So if you’ll these forms decipher
You may well presume
That they represent your future,
Plain as plain can be.
For example, ships will tell you
That you’ll go to sea.
Books will point you out a scholar,
Guns, a soldier, brave and bold.
Everyone shows something different,
Waiting to be read and told.

Sensibly, our young witch is not attempting to pour the lead through a wedding ring or key(!) as recommended. A safer version of this custom was performed using candles or eggs (i.e., solidified candle-wax or egg whites). Arkins reproduces this postcard to explain the candle method. It has the following rhyme

Let the candle grease drip and drop,
Into the water while it’s hot;
And the floating grease will form the name
Of your partner in the marriage game.
Cupid’s disguised as a witch Hallowe’en;
In all the games played his hand can be seen.

She also reproduces a card showing the egg method and offers some of the interpretations (see pages 60 and 77–78 from her book here).

So, next time you are poaching an egg for breakfast for you and your familiar (two eggs, she gets one yolk), remember to practice your technique!

Best Wishes for Halloween, ca. 1910

Posted in 10s, chromolithograph, Halloween, Postcard, SFW on 13 October 2010 by redwitch1

This wonderful image, of a witch flying on a paintbrush, was published in Germany by “Gottschalk, Dreyfus & Davis, London, Munich, New York.” It is one of a series of Halloween postcards that was issued around 1910 in two different versions: one, a lovely, very fine lithographic sepia (“Series No. 2662”), the other in a colour tint with a gelatin finish (“Series No. 2693”).

If you look very closely you will see that these are not identical images, note—for instance—the eyes and the length of the wand. They are also printed using different processes, the lithograph giving a very fine, almost flawless, representation of pen and ink shading, the other using benday tints (larger or smaller dots of colour) to do the same thing.

It is tempting to assume that the sepia card was issued first, and that the publishers produced the colour card in the next season when they knew they were on a winner—but it is just as likely that the sepia and colour cards were issued at the same time at different prices. If you look here you will see that the colouring differs between issues of the colour cards, and possibly differed between cards in a single print-run! Which means you could really go crazy (and broke) collecting these cards, trying to get one with each variation of colouring.

Personally, I am quite happy with the two I have. Just look at this gorgeous witch!

And here are a few details: we have a crow, instead of a cat, as a familiar. And here again are a wonderful examples of witchy footwear.

And check out this Art Nouveau styling on the back of the card, or Jugendstil I should say, since it was almost certainly the product of a German artist, as well as the product of a German printer.

As for the composition: the witch is riding a paint-brush, suspended above crossed quills and an open book, accompanied by a crow. The witch holds a wand and a crescent moon and stars occupy the background.

No doubt, the book and crossed quills represent books and the literary imagination, while the paint brush represents art and the artistic imagination. So, I guess this beautiful witch is identified as the product of a literary and artistic imagination.

No doubt she is riding the paint brush rather than the quill because the artist behind this image was, well, an artist, not an author, and so the brush represents his brush …

And so, can I just say that the paintbrush is rather suggestively angled, and that the way the brush rises from between the crossed quills looks rather like something Freud would readily recognise as rising from between two (male) thighs.

And so, can I also say that the shaft is very impressive, that the witch seems very happy to be riding this particular artists’ paintbrush, that and that she has a firm grip on the, um, brush. Just saying.

Is this really SFW?


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