Raphael Tuck & Sons
The London company of Raphael Tuck & Sons was founded by Raphael Tuck (1821–1900) and his wife in October 1866 and was located on Union Street (now Brushfield Street), Bishopsgate. The company sold furniture, picture frames, greeting cards, and, eventually, postcards, the latter introduced in 1899 and becoming the most successful part of the business. Raphael’s sons, Herman, Adolph, and Gustave, joined the business in 1870, the year the business moved to 177 City Road. In 1880, the business moved to 72–73 Coleman Street, and in 1899 moved again to Raphael House, located between Tenter and White Streets in Moorfields.
In that year, the first Tuck postcard was printed, inspired by the November 1899 change in British Postal regulations that allowed publishers to issue picture postcards at the standardized size of five and half inches by three and a half inches. In 1903, the “Oilette” postcard series (six postcards in a set) was introduced, and in 1905, the “Oilette Wide Wide World” series began. Adolph was chairman and managing director of the company until his death in 1926. On December 29, 1940, Raphael House was destroyed by German bombs, and the originals for most of the postcard series were lost. In 1959, the company combined with two others to become the British Printing Corporation (renamed British Printing & Communications Corporation in 1982 and Maxwell Communications Corporation in 1987).
Each Tuck postcard had an imprint of the British royal coat of arms (the Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Victoria had been obtained in 1893), and the Tuck trademark, an easel, palette, and brushes and the monogram R.T.&S. (usually printed in the box where a stamp would be affixed). In the 1930 Tuck catalogue, the “Oilette” series, which had been introduced in 1903, is described as “veritable miniature oil paintings; six designs in packet, all different, price 9d. the packet....This remarkable Series, produced by the finest modern colour methods direct from original paintings, continues without question the most successful and popular of the manifold varieties of Postcards that have ever been placed upon the market. Dealers throughout the world may confidently be recommended to stock practically every line produced in our “OILETTE” Postcard Series, with the undoubted assurance that they are securing for their customers the most picturesque spots and the most charming subjects – in fact the most Saleable Postcards in the World.”
Sally S. Carver, The American Postcard Guide to Tuck (Brookline, Mass.: Carves Cards, 1976).
Anthony Byatt, Picture Postcards and their Publishers (Malvern: Golden Age Postcard Books, 1978), 287–301.