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Raphael Tucks Chromo Portrait Gallery

Chromo Portrait Gallery

Q I have shown these cards to several dealers specializing in postcards, none of whom have seen these cards before - even a dealer who collects carte-de-visite has never come across them.

I have never seen them before in my 25 years of postcard collecting and am anxious to find out as much as I can about them. This will be another collecting avenue as they are of very high quality. What is the approximate age of these cards - how many in a set - what other similar sets are there ?


A It is a very curious thing that collectors of cartes-de-visite apparently have no interest whatsoever in any non-photographic cartes so I was not surprised that people you asked denied all knowledge of them.

Personally I find these non-photographic cartes add to a collection and, as you say, the portraits are of good quality. From the beginning of cartomania, the craze for collecting cartes in the 1860's, a number of publishers tried to capture the market with different or entertaining series of cartes.

Initially it was firms such as Rock and Simmons with their comic cartes but the Raphael Tuck portraits were at the tail end of the boom when the public was moving on to cabinet photographs. They are probably mid to late 1880's; so far I have seen a series of the royal family and another of politicians but nowhere have I seen a listing for them.

I wonder if anyone has a complete listing of subjects available or can contribute other subject categories ?


A I was looking up information on these types of cards as I have four from my grandmother. They are of Lord Chelmsford, Rembrandt, Sir Bartle Frere, Earl Lytton - all published by S.J.S & Co London.

Sue Phillips, Australia

Four Chromo Portrait Gallery cartes



This regular feature invites answers by email to members’ questions on an item of ephemera.