Apr 23, 2009

Curator's Choice


This is an humourous Christchurch postcard dating from circa 1937, an era when the city was still in the waning clutches of the Prohibitionists and the Social Purity League. The wowsers were increasingly becoming the butt of humour from the more liberaly minded locals, as the quaintly class-conscious subject indicates.

The lower part of the image is a flap, behind which is a folding sequence of twelve Christchurch streetscapes by Arthur Bendigo Hurst (1880-1964), which can be dated to the early Spring of 1936.

From his Broma Studio at Napier, the former Nelson photographer and founding President of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, regularly undertook commissions for the Tanner Brothers of Wellington, publisher's of the postcard. But Hurst is probably best remembered for his images of the 1931 Napier earthquake devastation.

3 comments:

kuaka said...

I wouldn't read too much into the humour being Chch-specific as these cards were generally stock cards produced in the UK, overstamped with the NZ place name and a folding series of small pics of the local views glued in under the flap.

I have some that are more obviously British, eg. a British postie collecting the mail, and I've seen a very English locomotive at a train station purporting to be Chch NZ! Tanner Bros. had a London office so probably bought these stocks cards & shipped them out to the Antipodes.

No doubt, however, that the anti-wowser humour found a receptive audience in Chch.

Jayne said...

I love this style of drawing/art, deceptively simple yet full of detail ;)
There's a fair few giggles in print over this side of the ditch at the wowsers, too, lol.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Also have a copy of the railway postcard, which is more obviously generic.

The last of the Tanners was a chum; Claude lived in some comfort up in Karori and was principal Cello with the NZ National Orchestra. Had absolutely no interest in the postcards and calendars on which the family fortune was founded.