30 Jul 2017

19th c Cuteness Overload?

John everett millais.jpg
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, PRA ( 8 June 1829 – 13 August 1896) was an English painter and illustrator who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

 His wife was previously married to the critic John Ruskin whose support for Millais early work was probably very instrumental in creating the later success.
Ruskin was a strong proponent of naturalism -"painting from nature only".
He was also an influential social critic and reformer.
I have a pleasure of owning an old copy of his great "The Seven Lamps of Architecture" with remarkable illustrations, such as this:

But the more minor work of Millais I have been reading about is this:

John Everett Millais Its title is "The Minuet" and was probably one of those creating the "cuteness overload" in the 19/early 20th century psyche.

I have just a small print - titled "The First Minuet" and inscribed as Hand Printed Facsimile by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd., London.
It is a fairly old print, nicely embossed, spot-coloured  otherwise monochrome print.
Lovely embossed water mark of the printer in the left corner.
I have just carefully cleaned it and now I marvel on the amount of interesting research it triggers.

The search on the subject of the history of the printer is equally exciting.
The founder, Raphael Tuck was born into a Orthodox Jewish family in the early 19th c in Kożmin, near my home town of Poznań - then within the Prussian partition.
Tuck and his wife Ernestine, married in the eve the 1848 Revolution which in the end was another step into the "Clash of Empires".  While still while living in Poland they took to reproducing in the Victorian mode the post cards and other printed decorum.
Emigration to England followed and the family did well in the printing business on the Island.
They mingled well and their son has already become a baron, assumed a coat of arms and continued successfull family business, publishing mostly post cards.

They operated under this name until 1959, which suggests that I basically finished them...
So, to make the long tale short, whether art reproductions or kitch, the commercial art printing has made some fortunes in the past.
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