Monday, May 12, 2014

Object of the Day: Hickson's Cash Grocery Store

Click image to see his glorious face in detail.

Let’s get going with another fun and disturbing Victorian trade card. Part of the reason I enjoy these cards is because of the quality of the chromolithographs which are marked by incredibly rich colors and, in most cases, some truly beautiful artwork. Sometimes, however, as detailed and vibrant as the images are, they’re also a bit…peculiar when viewed with modern eyes. Still, for me, that’s part of the charm as I often find odd and offbeat things to be quite appealing.

Take, for instance, this card for Hickson’s CASH AND GROCERY HOUSE which was located at 113 East Madison Street, Chicaco, Illinois.

It wasn’t just a grocery store. It was a GROCERY HOUSE. I have all sorts of images in my head right now—a little Victorian house made of cheese and cold cuts with a door of bread and…

Well, I suppose I would have been very good as a Nineteenth Century advertiser. Perhaps that’s why this card appeals to me.

We see here, a very disgruntled terrier who has, apparently, been awakened from a nap. He is, after all, in bed. Isn’t he? He has, by his bedside, a large spoon/ He’s reaching for it, his queerly-human face, curled into a scowl.

Now, here’s where it gets weird. The green tablecloth on his bedside table is written with the words, “WHO SAYS RATS?”

Well, I do, unhappy dog, I say “rats.” “Rats” to you and your upsettingly charming hominid face.

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