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Posts Tagged ‘Four Courts’

I wrote about the daytime version of this Dublin scene in an earlier post on the pre-1907 phenomenon of writing messages on the front of postcards. The same photograph was altered by the publishers for use in the ‘Valentine Moonlight Series.’ The addition of a full moon; a reduction in the traffic and the depopulated street transform the original scene into a quieter nocturnal world.

Valentine and Sons were one of the main producers of postcards at the turn of the nineteenth century and I wrote an entry on their extensive business for John Hannavy’s Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography.

The message on the 1904 postcard is a fascinating snippet of life. Apparently the person sending the postcard has been inconvenienced by the death of an uncle and may not now be able to go on a proposed outing with Miss Brenton!

‘Dear A, Uncle died on Tuesday afternoon. I am not quite sure if the folks here will think I ought to got to the fair, but will come if I can.’

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Before 1907, if you were sending a postcard to the United States you couldn’t write anything other than the address on the back of the card. As a result of this people wrote their messages around the image and this led to an interesting and quirky intersection of words and pictures. The pattern created by the text against the image is often fascinating. The sender of the first postcard from Howth/Beann Eadair has managed to write a considerable amount of text over the sea and sky! It was sent to California in April 1905. The second card was sent to Boston in 1905 and mentions a trip to the Dublin Horse Show and Donaghadee, near Belfast. 

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