Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Thus far 2023 has been a very Felix year here at Pictorama and especially noteworthy in photos, if I do say so myself. While this Felix picture roll may wrap pretty soon, it is a stormy Saturday here after a long enervating week in Manhattan and contemplating this particularly perky card seems the most cheerful today.
This is an especially wonderful Felix they are posing with here – big enough to be a small person in a costume. (The first time I saw one of these cards I thought that might be possible!) He has very nice, big, pointy ears and was designed with extra long arms which he wraps around the two little girls, very chummy! His bow is untied and a tad bedraggled, and admittedly there is something particularly buck-tooth about his usual sewn-on toothy grin.
The oldest of the three (I will take a guess on the baby) girls is the one dressed most beach ready casual, the other two are a bit more dressed up. I love the oldest girl’s sort of wild fly away hair. They look enough alike that I will declare them sisters. The card was never mailed and nothing is written on the back. There is a bit of white paint on the lower left corner, but it is hard to see it if you aren’t holding it in your hand.
This card has the unusual distinction of being the first I think I have ever purchased from a US dealer. All of my other posing with Felix cards have come from Britain, Australia or New Zealand. Having said that, I have no doubt that despite having found itself for sale in Florida that it was taken in Britain, as you will see below.
As I sat here in my early morning bleary-eyed state, my attention fell on a card on the wall, hovering over the computer, where I have tucked a few Felix photos on a wall that is largely devoted to film stills, a few lobby cards for early Westerns, and various other early 8″x10″ photos. I could see immediately that this card (which somehow I have not devoted an earlier post to) is a rather stunningly precise location match for the new one. Wowza!
The very same long-arm Felix seems to be reaching around these three-of-a-kind kids, those in their matching togs, glorious striped beach dresses, on the ends (note the alternating sock colors) and the odd fellow out in the middle. Felix is sans bow here and one ear is askew, but there is not doubt that he’s our fellow.
If we had any doubt about the location, the distinctive windows and even the light is so similar in the photos; that is what caught my eye first. A closer look reveals the same space below the white board building. I’m not sure I have any reason for assigning it as such, but my thought is Brighton.
While on a roll for guessing, although it is somewhat less absolutely a match, I offer another photo from my collection. I think a fair argument could be made for this prize pic having been taken at the same location based on Felix, the white board exterior and the light. Thoughts? (I wrote about this very favorite photo from my collection in a post here.) I must have had this thought before because they were hanging together.
The more recently purchased photo is smaller in proportion by several inches, 4″x5″ rather than 5″x7″. I wonder if their tracking number at the lower left is truly chronological – N5252 and N7130 – which would make the triplets the later one. (And the gentlemen in front of the photo establishment much earlier than either.) Presumably these numbers, which appear in some form on all these sort of day at the beach posing photos, were used to tie out the negative to the appropriate party so the photo could be sent to the correct person. Unlike tintypes, which were usually developed in real time in a soupy bath of hypo, I have always assumed that developing and printing the postcards took at least a nominally longer time.
Clearly multiple cards could have been ordered and printed of these real photo postcards. However, I have yet to come across two originals of the same card – although in my collection I have a few cases where multiple single tintype images were taken at the same time and saved together. I have always imagined that the postcards were mailed and arrived a few weeks later, a pleasant reminder of the day at the beach or the vacation, but perhaps why duplicates didn’t seem to be bothered to be made.
The pot of coffee I put on has finished and the sky is looking like it may clear (although still dubious), so Saturday is officially kicked off here at Pictorama. Tomorrow I will pick up from New Jersey.