Issued by Eastbourne Heritage Centre on 23 May 2012:
Exhibition: Picturesque Postcards 7 May to 28 July
The Eastbourne views of watercolour artists
AR Quinton (1853-1934) & James Owen (1847-1928)
‘Picturesque Postcards’ brings together the colour picture postcards of Alfred Robert Quinton and James Owen produced from their watercolour views of Eastbourne and the surrounding area of 100 years and more ago. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see Owen’s original watercolours, sketches/tracings and compare the style and subject matter of the Eastbourne postcards of A R Quinton and James Owen.
‘Picturesque Postcards’ depict Eastbourne at its most idyllic, showing blue summer skies, the charm of the seafront, character of the town and scenic nature of local beauty spots. Both Quinton and Owen’s watercolours were produced primarily with visitors to the town in mind, printed as attractive, colourful, inexpensive, ‘souvenir’ postcards they were sold by local stationers to visitors, correspondents and postcard collectors as a perfect memento of a visit, to bring back happy memories of holidays, brighten up albums or to be sent to impress friends and family back home.
The exhibition takes a brief look at the change in British postal regulations that led to the introduction of the postcard as we know it today, it’s ‘golden age’, the boom in sending and craze for collecting them that was taking place in the era when Owen and Quinton’s colour picture postcards were first published.
Today Quinton and Owen’s postcards and watercolours provide a topographical record of the town showing early 20th century images of the Pier, CarpetGardens, WishTower, DevonshirePark, Western Parades, Holywell and Beachy Head. Shown on screen in the exhibition is a ‘then and now’ comparison, of AR Quinton’s watercolour views with current day colour photographs taken from the viewpoint adopted by the artist. Remarkably, these show that many features of the seafront, coastline and local historic sites are largely unchanged and remain as familiar to visitors and Eastbournians today as they were a century and more ago.
Along with providing the opportunity to see the Eastbourne postcards of two watercolourists side by side, compare the ‘then and now’ scenes of the town and gain an understanding of the role of the postcard in holiday and postal communications, it is hoped that looking at these colourful ‘postal gems’ will evoke the original enjoyment and excitement their arrival through the post in the early part of the 20th century was designed to inspire.
EastbourneHeritage Centre, 2 Carlisle Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4BT. Open: Monday to Saturday (closed Wednesday and Sunday). Hours: 2 to 5pm. Admission: Adult £2.50, Senior/Student £2.00, Family £5.00, Child £1.00. Tickets are valid for re-entry to the Centre for 7 days (Hours 2 to 5pm). For more information visit the website or tel 01323 411189.