in the 1900s Holmfirth was something of a rival to Hollywood, and
from Moscow to Manchester picture-goers waited eagerly for the next
film from Bamforth's.
small family film was forced to abandon movie-making when it ran
into difficulties because of shortages during World War One but
by this time its output of postcards was in full swing. Bamforth's
Holmfirth studio continued to operate until 1993 and, over the years,
introduced many different photograpy-related products but it is
now remembered mainly for its comic postcards.
somewhat sexist message?
exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery sets out to tell the 'Secrets'
behind the saucy postcards, following production through from the
artist's first rough sketch to the final card.
such secret is that over the years the company only employed four
staff artists. The long service put in by Douglas Tempest (the first
of the artists who started in 1912), Arnold Taylor, Philip Taylor
and Brian Fitzpatrick made it easier to maintain a distinctive house
style with bright colours and exaggerated characters.
exhibition looks at the whole artistic process starting with
the first sketch
seemed to have moved on from the 1950s and 1960s when the saucy
postcards were at the height of their popularity and three of today's
artists have been giving their own twist to the idea.
Eggleston-Wirtz, from the USA, but now living on the Lancashire
coast, has produced three mixed media works which explore some of
the images used in the original postcards, looking at some of the
racial stereotyping and censorship issues behind the pictures.
detail from Olivia Brown's Bonemouth Pier
Bridge artist Olivia Brown has created a fun pier installation inhabited
not by people but by dogs - they sit in deck chairs and have silly
photos taken of themselves by the (doggy) beach photographer.
Bamforth postcard figures have been brought up to date by Paddy
Killer, an artist hailing from Halifax, who has produced a giant
textile postcard featuring famous people including Posh, Becks,
George Bush and Tony Blair.
postcards will also be brought to life in a special launch event
on Saturday, January 31st, when "lanky George" and "chubby
Martha" will be entertaining the crowds, both in the Art Gallery,
and outside in the Piazza, with dramatic sketches.
exhibition is drawn from Kirklees Community History Service's Bamforth
collection which includes more than 20,000 postcards and 1,500 pieces
exhibition is currently split in two. Part of the exhibition is
being shown at the Dewsbury Museum until Sunday 1st August. The
other part is being shown at the Bagshaw Museum in Batley until
Sunday 1st August.
entire xhibition moves to Holmfirth Civic Hall from 9th August 2004.
Bamforth images are courtesy of Kirklees Community History
Service and must not be reproduced.