The night of the 29th December, 1940, saw one of the largest and most destructive German air raids on London during World War.II. More than 24,000 high explosive bombs and 100,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on the city.
The destruction was enormous and by morning, the premises of the postcard publishers Raphael Tuck & Sons – Raphael House – was a burnt out shell along with much of the city. Records going back seventy-four years and 40,000 or more original pictures and photographs by the best of artists were in ashes.
Ironically, the firm of Raphael Tuck & Sons had been founded by German émigrés and prior to the outbreak of World War.I. had contracted the bulk of their printing business to German firms.
The first evidence that I’ve come across of a work that passed through the firm unscathed has recently come to light.
Robert Finlay McIntyre (1846-1906) a London artist supplied this 1892 view of “The Upper Lake, Killarney” to Tuck’s and the original turned up at auction at Fusco Auctions, Ohio on the 19/7/2017 where, despite its poor condition, it sold for $500.
Obviously Tuck’s didn’t retain all the work of those that supplied them and hopefully where there’s one, there’s more! Sadly though, I don’t expect to see a flood of similar paintings from the likes of Walter Hayward Young “Jotter”, Edgar Longstaffe and Alfred de Breanski.
More about Raphael Tuck & Sons here: Tuck Database