Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Collecting Postcards aka Deltiology March 28, 2008

Today’s Irish Times had a very interesting article on collecting postcards.  This is one of my hobbies.  I just love the lure of the old photo, or the special message, or the unusual postage stamp, or the reminder of places visited.  There is so much social history in old postcards.   One of the themes that I try to focus on is of course cards relating to craftwork, and especially weaving, spinning, and knitting.

Somewhere in my collection of  the Journal of the Association of Weavers Spinners & Dyers  is an issue with an article about collecting postcards relating to weaving, spinning and dyeing.  I’ll try to find that issue and add to this entry.  In the meantime, here are a few samples from my collection.  I can’t say that I have any postcards relating to dyeing, but I do have quite a few relating to weaving, spinning, and knitting.  At the Dublin City Book Fairs there are usually one or two table holders who have postcards as well as books and I always ask the person if he has any postcards for me.  Usually that question draws a blank but just occasionally in my browsing I find one.  Here is one I found fairly recently.      irish-spinning-wheel-postcard-smaller-size.jpg  A staged rendition but interesting nonetheless.  The caption reads Irish Spinning Wheel and this verse follows  “The Irish people cannot only design beautiful things, but can also execute them with indefatigable industry”  John Ruskin     The postcard is dated June 6 1905 and is postmarked Dublin June 14  05  with a British One Penney red stamp and addressed to a woman in Queensland Australia.

irish-spinning-wheel-1909-smaller-size.jpg  This is from a slightly later date, 1909.  The card is titled Irish Spinning Wheel.  no verse on this one.  It is has a green stamp and is postmarked Jersey SP 22  09 , and is addressed to a woman in Jersey.

old-guernsey-lady-knitting-smaller-size.jpg and finally this more modern one, a reproduction of a watercolour painting titled Old Guernsey Lady Knitting.  The artist was Peter Le Lievre (1812-98) and the painting is in the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery.

A fellow member of the Online Guild is also a collector and recently she had a query regarding a Dutch postcard of a man spinning on a big wheel.  That postcard was one of the old tinted type – and that man spinning on the big wheel was on a boat.  Why, was the question?  Various answers came from Dutch members of the Guild.   In rereading the messages, I’m not sure that the question was fully answered – cow deck, spinning a thread to be woven to make covers for the cows.  Intriguing.

What intrigued me especially about today’s article was that there is actually a name for people who collect postcards.  We are called deltiologists – I never knew that!


3 Responses to “Collecting Postcards aka Deltiology”

  1. Dot Lumb Says:

    Hi Janet, thanks for sharing your postcards, they are very interesting to see. Next time I go to a 2nd hand book fair I shall have to take a look at any postcards and see what I can find.

  2. willisweaver1 Says:

    Happy searching!

  3. Mary Boyd Says:

    With reference to The Journal article on postcards, it was by Sue Leighton-White and appeared in the April 1990 issue, no 154.

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