Until the Second World War, the leading name in British postcards was Raphael Tuck & Sons. Together, we’ve looked at several Tucks’ Postcards in my collection. Most of them pertain to King George V and Queen Mary, well, because that’s what interests me. Though Tuck & Sons did produce a good many royalty-themed cards, their inventory covered almost any popular or fashionable subject matter.
Let’s take a look at this card depicting Queen Mary arranging a vase of flowers—carnations (which she really didn’t care for) and what appears to be lilies. What I like about this image is that though it’s clearly staged, it tries to give the appearance of being candid and casual. Her Majesty is dressed in a loose, fur-trimmed, lace robe as opposed to the formal gowns and jewels which she usually wore for portraits. Giving a soft smile, it’s clear that Queen Mary was trying to look as informal as possible, showing that she understood what the photographer was trying to accomplish. She is wearing the jewels that she usually donned to knock around the palace: a stack of diamond, gold and ruby bangles which she particularly favored, her favorite pearl earrings and a tight pearl choker worn at the middle of her throat.
The front of the card simply says, “HER MAJESTY QUEEN MARY.” And credit for the photo is given as “Camera Photography by E.O. HOPPÉ.
The reverse reads:
Along the edge…
Copyright, London Printed in England ROYAL PORTRAIT SERIES
Raphael Tuck & Sons “REAL PHOTOGRAPH” Postcard No. 3742
And, along the top…
TUCK’S POST CARD
H.M. QUEEN MARY – One of her happiest portraits taken at Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty is the only daughter of the late Duke and Duchess of Teck and was married to King George July 6th, 1893. Crowned at Westminster Abbey, June 22nd, 1911.