Picture Postcards from the Great War

Embroidered 'Silk' Postcards

Young soldiers and their sweethearts separated by the war frequently conducted their romance through the medium of romantic picture postcards. Embroidered silk cards were a firm favourite. Hand-stitched by French and Belgian women or a family group, a thriving cottage industry soon developed with the standard of work at times superb.

French postcard publishers were not slow in recognizing the potential of the market in sentimental embroidered silk cards and soon employed women to produce them on an assembly-line basis. Usually, the same design was hand-worked side by side up to 25 times on a continuous strip of silk or organdie. (A block consisting of 400 designs is known to have been worked) When all the designs were finished they were separated and mounted onto postcard backings. Embossed frames were then fixed to the front of the cards to enhance their appearance. Put into translucent envelopes to protect the delicate embroidery, they were sent to shops and other outlets selling a variety of these bright and colourful cards.

When out of the line, soldiers delighted in browsing through embroidered silks looking for a suitable message and picture to send home. Sprays of flowers and foliage were the most popular designs with flags; birds and lucky horseshoes following close behind.

There were embroidered silks to send to 'My sweetheart',  'Dear Mother', 'Dear Sister' 'Dear Wife' and 'Dear Children.' Some had an extra refinement of a delicate flap, which formed a pocket holding a tiny message or greeting card. A slightly more expensive card was one that contained not a greeting card, but an exquisite miniature silk or lace handkerchief.

Other embroidered cards, proclaimed 'A Merry Christmas', 'A Happy New Year' and 'A Happy Easter.' and legends such as 'Right is Might' and 'United We Stand'

These colourful and attractive cards, with their pleasant designs and emotive wording, were direct appeals to sentiment.

Some of the most sought-after silks today are ones that display regimental crests or badges.

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