My Postcard as an Historical Artifact


This postcard was produced by the well known company “Raphael Tuck and Sons” and is a part of Series VI. This well known company dates back to around 1866 when it first opened and was established by Raphael Tuck and his wife Ernestine (“History of Raphael Tuck and Sons LTD”). Their postcards became extremely popular among all people in the hierarchy of society at the time (“History of Raphael Tuck and Sons LTD”). A significant aspect of the postcard is the focus on the family clan tartan. The attention placed on this can tell us a lot about the historical context of the time it was not only created but also distributed. In the 19th century, a new found popularity of tartan clans emerged due to the concern with preserving the culture and idealistic image of Scotland (Tuckett, 2016). The Highland Society of London and the Celtic Society of Edinburgh had a particular interest in the clan tartan and how it was widely acknowledged as a representation of Scottish life (Tuckett, 2016).


When discussing the importance of the “image” of Scotland, it is important to look at how this postcard alludes to the Scottish patriotism of the time. The image of Loch Awe can pose as a good example for this concept. Instead of a photograph, it is actually an illustration which displays a very specific portrayal of Scotland. Illustrations are often used when representing Scotland to invoke a romanticized feeling to the viewer (Gold & Gold, 1995). The glistening water of Loch Awe rests in between a clear contrast of the pasture landscapes in the foreground and the rugged presence of mountains in the background. This intentionally displays the diversity of landscape in the country and contributes to how imagery can be utilized as a marketing technique to draw in visitors. It is clear that as most postcards, the MacArthur attempts to attract people, and that is where we start to question who their target audience is. The focus on this specific tartan tells us it is likely directed at either collectors of the series, or people who have lineage connected to the MacArthur clan.

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