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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Hildesheimer & Co

The German born Hildesheimer brothers along with the Tuck family  [] were at the forefront of the fast expanding trade in Greetings Cards in Victorian England.

Siegmund Hildesheimer was born in 1832 in Hallberstadt Germany and settled in Manchester in the mid 1870’s.  The 1881 census lists his occupation as Picture Importer, although, according to trade directories, he sold gilt mouldings, published oleographs, chromos and Christmas cards. He went on to trade from London, initially producing advertising cards and then postcards on a variety of subjects, but was best known for Christmas cards. Siegmund specialised in silvered, frosted and embossed cards which were printed in France or Germany, as well as more localised printers.

The London Gazette shows the various changes to the company that took place over the years as well as those of Siegmund’s brother Albert’s partnership with William Faulkner

Much off the subject matter in these cards is, perhaps, rather “sugary” and sentimental for today’s tastes, but the standard of artistry and reproduction is remarkably high and they can be an interesting barometer of  the times: Siegmund Hildesheimer, for example, is said to have been among the first to depict black personages, presumably for the American market.

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