I had never come across this type of card until today when I stumbled across two of them on Etsy. Measuring an incredible 3.5 in x 11 in they must have been difficult to send through the mail without suffering damage. According to the Tuck Database they date from 1907 and were issued as a set of six. Reasonably priced at €9 each plus shipping (from the USA) I decided not to take the risk of damage – even in a card backed envelope.
I have been making steady progress with my collection of hand-painted postcards, and have picked up several nice examples in recent weeks. Last week I purchased the two attractive cards – below – as soon as I came across them online.
At the time I knew at once that I had to have them as they were good quality, of locations that I collect and there was just something about them. However, when I got them into my hand they seemed strangely familiar. When I compared them with my “Jotter” cards of the same locations – bingo! It was the skeletal figures in both the “Jotter” and the hand-painted cards that stand out and then everything else falls into place. Some birds and a figure are missing in the Black Head card, and the sky is totally different (and superior?) in the hand-painted Glenarm Castle card. The details of the Barbican are slightly different too, but the fisherman, his companion, and spectator on the bridge are on both cards. Click on images to enlarge.
The hand-painted cards are without doubt faithful copies of the “Jotter” postcards – above left – albeit with a certain artistic licence. Who was the artist? The only clue as to their identity are the initials JB (?) on the bottom right hand corner of both cards. The initials look like the numerals 93 on the Black Head card but on the Glenarm Castle card they are tight together and clearly initials.
The “Jotter” cards appeared as part of a set of six first published in 1908/09 by Raphael Tuck & Sons in their “Emerald Isle” series. I suspect that my two hand-painted cards date from roughly the same period. I would very much welcome any help with this mystery.
Ireland’s answer to J P Morgan!
I had to have this card – don’t know why, just something about it. I normally only collect topographical Irish cards published by Wrench but this has such an innocent ‘devil-may-care’ charm about it. The same cannot be said for some of the others in the series which are borderline racist. All the more surprising, given that Evelyn Wrench was from Ireland but, perhaps, not of Ireland. Anyway, I’m going to do something with this old fella – not sure what but he’s going to get another airing somewhere. This particular card was posted in England on the 12th August 1905.
The Payrrpoint Morrgin/J P Morgan referred to on the card was the famous American banker about whom more information than you could shake a stick at may be found here.
The Lost Legion…
I came across this extraordinary card on eBay last night, and despite having more than a passing interest in Irish/British history I had never heard of The Legion of Frontiersmen before. Card by H.Grahame Glen, Wortley, Leeds.
This is the clearest synopsis of the Legion that I could find online:
The Legion of Frontiersmen is a paramilitary group formed in Britain in 1905 by Roger Pocock, a former constable with the North West Mounted Police and Boer War veteran.
Prompted by fears of an impending invasion of Britain and the Empire, the organisation was founded as a field intelligence corps on a romanticised conception of the “frontier” and imperial idealism. Headquartered in London, branches of the Legion of Frontiersmen were formed throughout the empire to prepare patriots for war and to foster vigilance in peacetime. Despite persistent efforts, the Legion never achieved much official recognition.
Casualties in the First World War devastated the Legion of Frontiersmen, and except for a brief resurgence in the interwar period, a series of schisms and sectarianism prevented attempts to reinvigorate the movement. In the late 1930s, the Legion of Frontiersmen in Canada was formally affiliated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but after a schism split within the Canadian Frontiersmen, the RCMP severed formal ties. Various Legion of Frontiersmen groups still exist throughout the Commonwealth, but as a whole, it has been unable to define its niche in the post-imperial world.
An Irish branch was established on the 21st January, 1907 but more than that I can’t ascertain. A handbook of the Irish Organisation of the Legion of Frontiersmen may be viewed at the National Library.
Surprisingly, the Legion has outlived the Empire it was set up to protect and still exists in a number of incarnations today.