Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: So those precious few Pictorama readers who are in it for the Felix postcard photos, hold onto your hats for the next week or so because I have a small backlog of Felix and other photo postcards I will be sharing. Starting with this one I share today which is a very recent acquisition.
These three kids appear to have just run outside for a quick pic with Felix which makes me wonder if itinerant Felix photographers just wandered the streets like hurdy gurdy players with their monkeys. The oldest of the three appears to be dressed for weather entirely different than the younger two which lends some credence to my theory.
Unlike most of the folks posing with Felix photos I own, this is in the smaller category of ones that don’t appear to be at an amusement pier, resort or photo studio. There is a subset of photos like this one that appear to be on a residential street somewhere, but the Felix doll is usually a bit smaller. (If you missed them, the posts for the photos below can be found here and here.)
This Felix is nice and big (oh wouldn’t I like to own him!) so it was a commitment if someone was carrying him around, not just tucked under an arm. He has a spectacular large bow, but his ears are flat down and he’s listing a bit. The little girl on his right seems to be holding him up. The youngest child is utterly unimpressed with Felix or the situation. She looks off at something or someone to one side of the photographer. The pose in front of a combination picket and lattice work fence in front of a brick building facade.
The interesting thing about this photo, which I could not see until I held it in my hands, is that it appears to be a dupe. If you look carefully at the top left side of the photo you can see the edge of the original photo before it bleeds into a fade at the bottom. It is a well worn and much handled photo with bent edges and folds and tears at the top. Because it is in rough shape (it is a bit grotty) it is hard to tell that as a result of the generation lost, the image is a tiny bit soft.
In addition, it has a photo postcard back bearing a makers mark, EX-SERVICE MENS NOVELTY PHOTO OR 65, ELMHURST RD., FOREST GATE, ESSEX, followed by a series of numbers which are serial numbers sometimes used to track an image. So someone must have brought the original photo to them to copy and they took a photo of the photo and printed it. The photo studio put their stamp on it so I guess they were reasonably pleased with their handiwork.
Ex-service Men’s Novelty Photo is an interesting piece of its past. I assume it was run by former service men and attempting to attract the same in this post WWI England which provides a sense of time and place. This photo, like many if not all in my collection, has a past of its own which it holds onto and we can only guess at – however there is something about this one which is especially evocative. However, I think it has come to rest in the right place here in the Pictorama collection.