Thursday, March 31, 2016

The London View Company and its possible connections with Hertfordshire and Karaktus.

In the first few years of the 20th century there was an explosion of postcard collecting - and many firms rushed to the market. One of these was the London View Company, which was founded in 1905, expanded rapidly - became a limited company in 1906 and failed in 1907 or 8. While it published view cards from all over the country the only ones I have so far traced relating to Hertfordshire are of Watford.
Swiss Cottage, Watford - London View Co.

All were in colour, had identical backs, and a number were also published carrying the identity J. J. Southwood, photographer, Watford Series. It is possible the Southwood was the photographer commissioned to take the photographs - all of which would appear to have views of about 1905.

by "F. S" London View Company
In addition the London View Company published a large number of comic post cards and used an artist with a distinctive style who signed them "F S". Some post card sellers report that this if for "Fred Stone" - but I am not sure whether this identity is correct. (Can you help?)

by "F. S" Crown Series 1009
"F S" published a number of cards with other publishers, or as cards with no recorded publisher - possibly after the London View Company ran into difficulties. Of particular interest are those he published for the apparently short lived "Crown series" circa 1907/8 with numbers 100?, 1008 and 1009 so far identified.

Unsigned. Crown Series 1049
In about October 1908 Crown Publishing Ltd, of St Albans, were publishing cards in the "Crown series" with numbers between 1026 and 1049 so far identified. While none of these cards carry a signature the examples show they had very similar styles - and a similar sense of humor. It therefore seems very likely that these St Albans comic cards were drawn by "F.S."

But of course I am already researching the short-lived Crown Publishing Company of St Albans because they were publishing the very distinctive cards by an unknown artist signing himself Karaktus. There is a very marked difference in the style of Karaktus and "F. S." so I doubt that they are the same person but it looks very likely that they worked together in St Albans in 1908/9 after the collapse of the London View Company.
Karaktus Post Card 
P.S. I have now identified 28 out of 30 Karaktus post cards - but am still looking for Nos 19 and 21.  (Can you help?)

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