Sunday, February 9, 2014

Object of the Day: A Card by Raphael Tuck & Sons

Click Parrot for a Larger Size.

Let's get going with a collectible card from the early Twentieth Century (from the reign of Kind Edward VII). I won’t call this bit of Edwardian fun a “trade card” per se since it’s not actually advertising for anything. It’s the sort of chromolithograph that one would collect and paste into an album. Very often, publishers would produce series of these cards (sort of like cigarette cards, only larger) which were not only attractive, but served to inform the public about animals, birds, flowers, plants, history, science, etc. This one tells us all about parrots.

When I received the lot of trade cards which contained this card, I took it out and showed it to Bertie and said, “Look, Bertie, it’s a parrot.” We like our birds here at Bertie’s house. Regular readers know that I’ve several doves living on my porches (I just got a whole new crop, it seems, over the weekend). So, Bertie’s familiar with birds and knows, now, not to eat them alive. Showing him the card seemed, to me, a natural thing to do. But, afterwards, I laughed at myself for doing so. But, then, that weekend, when I brought the cards to my parents’ house to show them, my mother singled this one out and held it up for Bertie to see. She said, “Look, Bertie, it’s a parrot.” Ahhhhh…it’s genetic. It can’t be helped.

This is a very handsome card—neatly printed in the vibrant colors which were popular in the 1880s and 90s. I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s such a fine printing job since it’s the work of Raphael Tuck & Sons—famous for their high-quality postcards. The obverse reads simply, “That Parrot.”

On the reverse, we have a lovely narrative about these colorful birds.


     There are numerous varieties of this interest-
ing bird, many of them being of exceedingly
bright plumage, while they differ considerably
in size. They all inhabit hot regions and have
the peculiarity of using their claws as a hand
in which to hold their food. The pretty little
Love Bird belongs to the Parrot family. Some
varieties of Parrots, as is well, known, can be
taught to talk with a perfect imitation of the
human voice, stringing words and even sentences
together. The common Grey Parrot, a native
of Africa, is the most remarkable in this way,
and, for the clearness with which it pronounces
each word; it is at the same time a very docile
birds. The Green Parrot of South America
is also a wonderful talker. For this reason
Parrots have become favourite pets in many

London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Montreal
Designed in England.            Printed in Saxony.

Publishers to Their Majesties
The King & Queen and
T.R.H. The Prince & Princess of Wales 

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