a magazine for the next generation of stamp collectors

Weird Little guys

My favorite genre of artwork is “weird little guy.” Creatures with funny faces, anthropomorphized trinkets, jolly animals with Beatrix Potter-esque outfits… and there’s no better place to find these weird little guys than on Victorian postcards.

This Halloween postcard from 1908 gets it just right. Of course a pumpkin creature would chauffeur a witch and her familiar around in a watermelon vehicle, it’s perfectly sensible.

And in fact, this postcard reminds me of the pilot of a favorite cartoon, “Over the Garden Wall.” If this cartoon watermelon car isn’t directly inspired by the postcard, I’ll eat my hat.

Victorian-era Christmas and New Years holiday postcards are easy to find, and are similarly delightful. Regard these frogs enjoying a moment under the mistletoe!

I did not receive an art history education, and therefore can’t explain the context of this popular anthropomorphic style – except to note that taxidermy also gained popularity in this era. To quote Atlas Obscura, “the Victorian passions for whimsical fantasy and natural history came together in one irresistible art form: anthropomorphic taxidermy.” Yuck.

And speaking of things that will make you groan and say “yuck,” a final postcard. The puns are atrocious; the flies are an interesting subject for a Christmas card… All in all, another great entry for the philatelic collection.

If any of you have more knowledge on Victorian art, I’d love to learn more about the design background of these postcards. Or if you have any cool postcards of your own, send me a scan or a picture to [email protected] — I’d love to see them!