WW1 silk-embroidered postcard ‘1914-16’ with pocket card

Multi-coloured finial with allied countries flags (France, Italy, UK, Belgium, Netherlands...).  Acts as an ‘envelope flap’ to the ‘envelope’ below, which has ‘1914-16’ embroidered.

On back, text ‘Another one from the old man, to the old woman’. Addressed to ‘__Harland, P.O. Box 369 Oshawa Ontario.

Also on back ‘PARIS DEPOSÉ’ and ‘Fabrication française’ (Manufactured in France, trademarked in Paris).

Inserted in the ‘envelope’ is a small printed card. One side has image of soldier of Empire (wearing kilt) standing with his gun in a forest. Reverse has ‘Greetings from France’, with image of artillery cannon at bottom.  Printer’s name on left side ‘ Michler(?) PARIS'

Not sent through regular mail, as is normal.

Right side of ‘envelope’ detached. Bit of yellowing on edges. Back is browned.

 

The embroidered silk postcard is a common souvenir of the First World War.  They are blank postcards onto which an embossed paper surround has been glued, to frame and hold a central piece of silk.  On the silk, a design is hand-embroidered in coloured thread.

The embroidered postcards were very popular with British soldiers who often sent them home. They were sold in thin paper envelopes but were seldom sent through the post in them.  They were too fragile and, more particularly, they represented quite an investment – they were not cheap souvenirs.  Usually they were mailed with letters.  For this reason, they are often unwritten, with no marks on the back, any message having been sent in an accompanying letter.

Production peaked during the 1914-18 war, as the format proved especially popular with British soldiers.  The hand-embroidery is thought to have been carried out in domestic houses as ‘out-work’ by civilians in France and Belgium, and in the UK by Belgian refugees. The designs were repeatedly embroidered on rolls of silk.  These were then sent to cities (mainly Paris) for cutting up, final assembly and distribution, in what was probably at that stage a factory operation.

A ‘silk pocket’ effect can also feature, into which a tiny pre-printed card can be found.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/first-world-war-silk-postcards

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