The Langsdorff & Co. Art Postcards of Hertfordshire
Langsdorff & Co started to sell postcards in about 1905. Early in 1906 they moved to 19 City Road, London E.C. and their distinctive trade mark was applied for in May 1906. They described themselves as Fine Art Publishers, and published many artist cards of good quality. The company appears to have ceased trading on the outbreak of war in 1914.
Broxbourne Church from the River
The cards shown here all relate to Broxbourne - and are "Copyright no 683" and have identical backs with the Zeus trademark and the words "Printed in Saxony" in the stamp box. One (Broxbourne Bridge) was posted in October 1906, and a copy of another (Wormley Church) was posted in September 1907. They were presumably all issued at the same time in the summer of 1906. All are painted in the same style, possibly commissioned for the purpose, but unfortunately the artist is not identified.
Rye House, Broxbourne
Wormley Church, Broxbourne, Herts
My source was the book Picture Postcards and their Publishers by Anthony Byatt and all it says about their pre-postcard publishing days is:
I note that there was a Hans Langsdorff who in 1891 was a visitor to a house in Hampstead and described as an unmarried 31 year old merchant born in Germany. In 1901 he was boarding in Hampstead and this time he was described as a "merchant drysalter". I could not locate him in 1911 and there were no other possibly relevant Langsdorff in the London area. Simple googling for Hans Langsdorff proved impossible because google is flooded with references to a famous namesake, the Captain of the German Battleship, the Graf Spee.
Mincing Lane included a number of large office blocks, and in 1899 "Langsdorff & Co., merchants" was one of 38 companies listed in Market Buildings, 29 Mincing Lane. 19 St Dunstan's Hill was a similar building with several firms listed on each of five floors. 19 City Road was occupied by Suckling & Aldom, school stationers.
In 1910 Langsdorff & Co were described as "fine art publishers" and the only occupier of 19 City Road - and it would appear from the address on the print that they were there by 1901.
I suspect that Hans was the London agent of a German family firm, and its is possible that he saw a new market in fine art printing and started out in a small way, possibly from the London office in Mincing Lane. This proved profitable and expanded into the postcard market. However to be certain one need to know what the company was doing in Germany.
Please tell me if you have any further information on Langsdorff postcards in Hertfordshire or can identify the artist.
|June 2006||Page created|
|November 2012||Query about 1901 print|