Mailart from the past; some examples

Here’s the entirety of my collection of old mailart. Since these five examples are each at least 110 years old, the inclination of people to draw or paint on envelopes or postcards is, apparently, nothing new. The first card (1907) is from a person who didn’t seem so impressed with Paris. I don’t really know what the second card illustrates, but the artist seems to have been very talented. The third card, from 1900, says “Just arrived” under the woman, who sort of reminds me of an Edward Gorey drawing. The last two envelopes were each drawn by one “J.M. Enthoven,” and sent to a certain "Miss Romaine, in, I believe, 1893. I have reason to believe that Mr. Enthoven drew a large series of such letters to Miss Romaine. What’s neat about the fifth letter is that it successfully reached its intended recipient, even though reading the address (14 Connaught Place, London, England), was probably a challenge.


Cool, thanks for sharing!

I think I know what the text on the 2nd card says. The writing is flipped, so if we reverse it what comes out is:

En forêt :arrow_right: In the forest
En plaine :arrow_right: In the plains
Sur les clochers :arrow_right: On the tower

Thank you for sharing these :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Thank you for deciphering this card. All these years and I never bothered to try to figure it out. I guess we could add a new phrase, for me: dans le noir: in the dark


The guy running with that knife cracked me up!


Yeah, well, you weren’t the one standing at the pointy end of that knife.


I think he found the murder weapon and is doing his civic duty to turn said knife to the police department.


I hadn’t considered that possibility.

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Elementary my dear Watson!

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Handdrawn and handpainted postcards were very popular at the end of the 19th century and during the first 40-some years of the 20th century.
I collect handpainted postcards myself - they are all unique and so beautiful!

Sometimes it is even possible to find out some information about the story of the postcard, too, even if it was painted over 100 years ago…

I’ll post some examples from my collection on this topic during the next days.
But here are already some pictures of postcards drawn in ink:


Very cool. Another great mail artist was Edward Gorey (a lot of Postcrossers seem to request cards with his artwork) and the illustrated envelopes that Mr. Gorey used to send to his friends are pretty amazing.




Ms Wassmann, who has been running a tiny bookshop in Bremen for decades, once felt like making artist’s stamps herself a long time ago. She wanted a stamp motif for each letter of the alphabet. She didn’t know whether such stamps could be sold at all, but she didn’t care, she just felt like it. So she spent a hot summer at the perforating machine and got started.
The “B” shows a motif by Edward Gorey. To my great delight, the stamps did not sell so well with the normal customers. That’s why I got some more. :grin:


So I guess being abnormal has its benefits.

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These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them. I have an interest in handwriting and calligraphy, and it is so fascinating to see how mail was addressed so long ago…

There’s currently an exhibition in New York of some of the four hundred collaged postcards that the artist Ellsworth Kelly made and sent through the mail over the course of five decades. Here are some of them:


I like the randomness of them!

Thank you for this! I would have missed it if not for your post - better rush before it closes this weekend.

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I got to see some of the Tolhurst envelopes at the Postal Museum in London, and they were lovely.

Here is a bit of their history:


These are very cool. It seems like I’ve heard of them before; Of course, when you get old enough, it seems like you’ve heard of EVERYTHING before.

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Thank you so much for sharing this. It was a pleasure to read both posts and to explore more stories on the website.