Adventures in Deltiology

Do people still send postcards these days…?

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery

A visit to the delightful Keswick Museum and Art Gallery yesterday, on a very wet and windy day, threw up some deltiological delights. As with all museums the gift shop is the first place to start for a postcard hunter and I wasn’t let down with the selection. Museums and galleries are fertile ground for picking up unusual, sometimes unique, cards which represent items specific to their own collections. In this case the Keswick Museum has a good selection of standard stock representing their permanent exhibition, telling the story of Keswick and the surrounding area over the centuries, with art cards alongside some unusual viewcards. I was particularly drawn to this winter scene, Skaters on Derwentwater, by Joseph Brown which will suffice as a Christmas card for someone this year. The original oil painting is on display, part of an extensive fine art collection.



But it isn’t just the shop that will get a postcard collector interested; two current exhibitions feature cards too – the first is a display in tribute to mountaineer Joe Tasker who disappeared whilst making an attempt on Mount Everest in 1982. The exhibition includes many personal items including postcards sent by Tasker to his parents from the Lake District and Europe, a perfect example of the medium as an important item of social and personal history. The exhibition, Savage Arena: The Legacy of Joe Tasker runs until September 2017.

In the main gallery there’s a real treat for deltiologists with a new exhibition celebrating the work of local photographers and climbing enthusiasts George and Ashley Abraham. The company, founded by their father in 1865, had a shop in Keswick for over 100 years and their photography business expanded to include the production of popular postcards in the late 19th and early 20th century. The brothers first discovered picture postcards whilst on a climbing trip to Switzerland and upon their return they produced cards for visitors to the Lake District. Many of the Abrahams’ subjects were the first tourist postcards of views that are now commonplace. The exhibition includes personal items, equipment, original photographs and more and sits alongside a new collection of images by Henry Iddon taken in 2016 using the same Instanto camera used by the brothers. To accompany the exhibition you can pick up some bespoke postcards featuring some of the Abraham brothers’ less conventional images in the museum shop. The exhibition Lakeland Pioneers in Climbing and Photography: The Abraham Brothers closes on 12 May 2017 so get along before then to find out more about a pair of pioneers, not just in climbing and photography but in postcard production too.


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