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From 1900 or perhaps earlier, an increasing number of images were bought in from local and national photographers and agencies including George Washington Wilson, Donald George of Gwynedd, society photographers such as Karsh of Ottawa, Dorothy Wilding and Baron who sold publishing rights to Valentines.Valentines called themselves 'photographic publishers' and reproduced a great variety of photographic goods as well as the postcards for which they are best known.Valentines of Dundee, the well-known photographic company which produced Scottish topographical views from the 1860s, and later became internationally famous as the producers of picture postcards was founded in 1851 by James Valentine (1815-1879).

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Since much of the collection contains views associated with the leisure market, subjects such as fishing were regarded as attractive, agriculture less so, and industry was rarely portrayed.The main features are stately homes, historic ruins, great open spaces, beaches, the grandeur and curiosity of nature and great engineering feats. About 50,000 of the topographical views now existing pertain to Scotland, most dating after 1878 but include a few hundred of earlier date.Many of the early views containing people were very carefully posed.A price war with German postcard publishers between 19 had serious effects on the business.They diversified into greetings cards and calendars at this time.The effect on the business was to increase the few hundred new negatives added to stock annually to many thousand new views being recorded.The general standard of photography declined and the now usual photo-mechanical method of reproduction for post-cards was frequently crude, although the firm returned to purely photographic processes for post-cards in the 1910s.In 1866 James Valentine carried out his first Royal commission and received the Royal warrant in 1867. His exceptional organisational and presentational skills were essential in the rapidly expanding and thriving concern which opened a large printing works at 152 and 154 Perth Road, Dundee.William Dobson Valentine (1844-1907), son of James Valentine, took a course of chemistry at London University and trained to be a landscape specialist in the studios of Francis Frith at Reigate, Surrey, the largest English publisher of the commercial landscape. Valentine views in the nineteenth century aimed at the national middle and upper class tourist market, with the production of both drawing room albums containing selections of photographs arranged geographically and individual landscape prints.(a) The back of the the first of these cards has the Valentine 'Two Globes, logo and the words: Unfortunately, the 'University of St Andrews VALENTINE COLLECTION' booklet, which I have found to be very helpful in dating Valentine's black and white British postcards explains: "With a few exceptions, the overseas views were assigned to other sequences whose registers are not preserved in St Andrews University Library and which were probably not housed in Valentine's Dundee office" So, I'm unlikely to be able to help anybody wishing to know the publications dates of any of their Valentine postcards that were published overseas.The site gives a brief summary of photography in the Isle of Man undertaken by James Valentine, one of the founding members of Edinburgh Photographic Society.


  1. Valentine postcard dating. Type in your Valentine postcard's serial number here Associated pages. Home.

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