Round-faced Children Post Cards

Grace Gebbie Weiderseim pioneered the interest in post cards of children with round faces, plump bodies, and rosy cheeks, which became popular in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the First World War. Her cards were definitely being distributed in England by March 1908, and similar cards, signed by Fred Spurgin, were being  published by August 1910 by Avenue Publishing and by November 1911 by Inter-Art.  Spurgin continued to publish children oriented comic cards when he changed publisher to Art & Humour in 1916.

Four series of unsigned cards appear between 1908 and 1910 which might be by Fred Spurgin

Below I have listed samples of post cards, in date order,  produced by Grace Gebbie Weiderseim, the four unsigned series, and relevant later series signed by Frederick Spurgin. Comments about authorship are left until the end, so that the reader can compare the cards without being influenced by my interpretation.

by Grace Gebbie Weiderseim

Earliest UK noted March 1908

Blow!

Signed: G G Weiderseim

J. Beagles & Co. Ltd. London. E C

15 July 1909

[several backs - earliest seen 13 March 1908]

 

Chase Me!

Signed: G G Weiderseim

Alfred Schweizer, Kunstverlag, Hamburg 24.

Printed in Saxony  Serie 8

 

Chase Me!

Signed: G G Weiderseim

Alfred Schweizer, Kunstverlag, Hamburg 24.

Printed in Saxony

Serie 9

Philco Series (unsigned)

Published by Philco Publishing Company  Earliest noted December 1908

"It's so Simple"

Philco Series No 4070

November 1909

"We'd better bide awee"

Philco Series No 407?

November 1909

"A'int de wind rude"

Philco Series No 4084

January 1910

"Oo'ed better not tell!"

Philco Series No 4085

22 December 1908

"I'se Slidin' Down 'Cos I Tarnt slide up!!!"

Philco Series No 4087

Kute Kiddies (unsigned)

Published by Inter-Art  Earliest noted October 1909

I wants you to be my girl.

No 610

8 October 1909

The Country's Safe

No 611

15 November 1909

Monday's Child is fair and pretty, Modest, loving, sweet and witty.

No 601

Skates Off

No 625 

Nov 1910

Sale Now On! Everything Down   No 612

May &  August 1910

Infantastic (unsigned)

Published by Watkins & Krake Earliest noted November 1909

No 2

After labour cometh rest

December 1909

No 3

Go Away Mousie Do!

November 1909

No 12

"Whisper & I Shall Hear"

April 1910

No 16

She's Black, but Comely

March 1910

No 26

The Shades of the Palm

April 1910

Humorous Art Studies Series (unsigned)

Published by Shamrock & Co  Earliest Noted March 1910

Giving The Girls A Treat

Did I Fall or Was I Pushed

March 1910

His First Pair

 

Were you with me last night?

September 1910

Go on, Suck!

July 1910

Paternoster Series (signed)

Published by Avenue Publishing  Earliest Noted August 1910

I'm nae sae verre weel the noo!

No 505

August 1910

I dinna ken whether  I'm a laddie or Lassie

No 506

September 1910

A Japanese Tea Spoon!

[no number]

August 1910?

Whose little chick is oo?

1912

 

Bloomer Kids  (signed)

  Published by Inter-Art   Earliest Noted November 1911

Some girls do make terrible bloomers

No 931

Paper bags

No 932

Life inside a Harem

No 933

Mother's pants will soon fit Millie

No 934

Inter-Art Series (signed) published in 1912

All Angels have freckles

KATCHY KIDS 167

I couldn't go without a chaperone

KATCHY KIDS 317

Another Rising in Turkey

TURKS 967

Don't be such a young turk

TURKS 970

Am I the first woman you've ever loved?

NIPPER series 979

 

The little things we have to share!

NIPPER series 980

 

What are your intentions, young man

NIPPER series 981

Inter-Art Series (signed) published in 1913/14

'll be with you in two ticks

Dutch Kids series

No 321

The things I have to go through

Youngster series

No 486

A drop too much

Youngster Series

No 491

Not there, not there, my Child

English Kids Series

 No 315

You're the only girls I ever loved

Wee Rogues Series

No 570

I'm just as worried as cab be ... ...

Wee Rogues Series

No 567

None of your fairy tales now

Fairy series

No 616

Naughty Dog

Girlie Series

No 531

A Little Behind With The Rent!

"Novel Series"

No 947

No Security

No 667

Inter-Art Series (signed) published during the War

 

More Dread-noughts

PATRIOTIC series

No 471

Somewhere in France - but I mustn't say anything more about it!

KHAKI - I won't wear anything else!

KHAKI series 1024

I'd like to go for a soldier

TOMMY series 747

Give me something in a uniform

TOMMY series 741

"We are in a strongly fortified position."

"N A" series No 10051

 

Art & Humour Series (signed) - 1916-1919 (Wartime)

 

The end of the shirt which sister Susie sewed

KIDKARDS

I shan't discard my Identity Disc   

NOW SMILE

It is not so bad as being out at the front

SOME KID

Of National Importance

EFFECTIVE

Peace - Let us sing and rejoice

PEACE

   

The old place is not the same without you

WITTY WEEUNS

   

Art & Humour Series (signed) - 1916 onwards (not War)

Just come down by the sea

SUNNY SAND

Havin' a peak on a Heilan' peak

Wee Scottie

No 369

You must come again another day!

Civil Life

No 556

If papa does that cause he love me why doesn't he do it to mummy

FUNNY FANCIES

No 401

At a time like this we must grin and bare it

SMILER

Go away! I'm not dressed for company!

FUNNY FANCIES

When are you coming down this way?

CIVIL LIFE 580

     

CONCLUSIONS

What is clear is that between the closure of the London View Co Ltd in 1907 and 1911 Fred Spurgin had acquired the ability to produce attractive comic cards, using children, and I have identified four different sets which could represent stages in the process. All four companies were within the post card publishing area of Central London which Tred undoubtedly knew well, and in each case there is a possible reason to believe that Fred Spurgin had other contacts with the company.

The Philco Series example is clearly the weakest, and the possible Spurgin connection relates to a speculative link to cards in the "F S" Puzzle series, while any arguments on style are weak. While the possibility of the cards being by Spurgin trying out new ideas cannot be ruled out, strong additional evidence is needed to to make any positive claim.

Kute Kiddies 1910

Inter-Art 1913/4

The Kute Kiddies case is more straight-forward. In 1911 Fred Spurgin started producing a large number of sets, including a number featuring children, and may well have produced earlier unsigned cards. The pair of cards shown here, with the signed card being a redrawn version of the unsigned card, seem to show a definite connection - making it reasonable to assume that these cards were by Fred Spurgin.

The Infantastic series is often considered to be by Fred Spurgin, and there were strong links between the Watkins family and the London View Co Ltd. Bernard Watkins was one of the first to "publish" the early "F S" cards and Watkins & Krake also produce the Dauber series (by Spurgin).. The style is also compatible with later Fred Spurgin children comic cards and there can be little doubt that he was the artist behind this series.

Watlkins & Krake were another short-lived company so it would not have been unreasonable to Fred to have looked for other openings and the Humorous Art Studies Series could well have been the result. Shamrock & Co was publishing some very different Fred Spurgin signed cards. While there may be some small style differences, when an artist is producing similar cards for two different companies he is likely to deliberately introduce such differences. My opinion is that his series should also be considered to be by Fred Spurgin.

To conclude, the cards shown above illustrate a pathway by which Fred Spurgin developed the ideas of Grace Gebbie Weiderseim over a period of years, with a reservation relating to the identity of the artist who produced the Philco Series caards