Empire Exhibition, Scotland, 1938.

Art Colour Postcards by Brian Gerald.


Re the article in Newsletter 34, I have a few notes which should be added to the article.

Type 1.            I have six cards A 691-4, A 696-7. It should be noted that these Grey Lions are not as common as Red Lion cards.


Envelopes.      I have noted the following 'Art Colour' packets,

22.       'Oil Facsim' 9 for 1/6                A 619-9.

23        'Clan Tartan' 6 for 1/-               A 708-13.

24        8 'Art Colour' for 1/-                A 691-4, A 697, A 700, A 703, & A 718.

25                    ditto                             A 694, A 696, A 702, A 716, & A 719-21.

26                    ditto                             A 693, A 695, A 698, A 701, A 704-5, & A 722-23.

u/n                    ditto                             A 691-4, A 696-7, & A 699.

            While it is possible that Valentine's might vary the above contents, all deviations I have seen were from doubtful sources where a dealer may well have replaced cards at will. The above are from the publisher's sample books.

            Packets were produced side and or top opening and usually printed brown on buff or blue on white paper. All 'Art Colour' packets I have seen were side opening and printed blue on white paper with the Tower of Empire in blue and the Exhibition Lion motif in red 30mm high. The unnumbered envelope also exists with the Red Lion motif in the 35mm size.

Type 3.            Has the card with a glazed surface and a standard Valentine's (i.e. non-exhibition) back. As the 'Art Colour' were only an artist's impression, they could be issued before the Exhibition opened. This was a common practice with exhibition cards. Type 3 is most uncommon and I only have A 692-3. The only used one I have is postmarked July 1939. Could they have been retailed after the exhibition closed, rather than before? (All mine are unused Editor)

'C.B.'               I have no idea what this means but it could be a printer's control. It appears at the bottom right of the stamp box and exists in small or large sans-serif capital letters. I have it on some A 692 with small capitals and A 694 & A 696 in both styles. (I have two copies of A 692 with it, but did not know the letters came in two sizes. If you can let me have a photo-copy of the two sizes I can let you know which size mine are. Editor)

            While the majority of cards carry the imprint in capital sans-serif 'From an Original Water Colour by Brian Gerald' A 715 & A 717 are inscribed 'From Original Water Colours by Brian Gerald'. An unacknowledged card shows Mary Morrison, the 'Auld Grannie' spinning in the Clachan. It is inscribed 'Cleuch Dryburgh Tweed Warehouses Highland Spinning Empire Exhibition, Scotland 1938. It is unnumbered and has no reference to the exhibition on the back, but has '38-2' in the stamp box.

            Brian Gerald's exhibition paintings were also employed as the source for a few of Valentine's 'Real Photo' cards. These appear usually in the A series with four digits, i.e. A 6623-31, with six major variations of printings of the back. Look out for the crazy 'PHOTOGHAPH' spelling.

            The cards can appear in (the early) glossy black & White or Glossy sepia, with the usual back variations and hand tintings.



1.         6 Views in Art Colour               A 691-4, & A 696-7.

2.                     not known

2a.       6 Views in Art Colour               A 691, A 694-5, & A 697-9.

3.                     ditto                             A 691, A 694-6, & A 698-9.

4.                     ditto                             A 691-3, A 695-6, & A 698.

4a.                   ditto                             A 692-4, & A 696-8.

10.                   not examined

11.       6 Views in Art Colour               A 691, A 693, A 695-6, & A 698-9.

13.                   ditto (Varnished)           A 691, A 693-4, A 696-7, & A 699.

14.                   ditto                             A 691, A 694-5, & A 697-9.


15.                   ditto                             A 691-3, A 695-6, & A 699.

16.                   ditto                             A 692-4, & A 696-8.



            12 Views                                  A 691-2, A 694, A 700-1, A 705, & A 715-9.

            A 6631 shows A panoramic map of the exhibition but only appears in black & white on a card and in colour only on this Souvenir. It is probably not by Gerald.

            A 697 (South Cascade & Tower by Night) is the most prolific view of any 1938 Empire Exhibition painting. As A 6628 it takes on A host of variations, sepia hand tinting, searchlights, hand and machine lettering (left and right bottom corners in quite a few different styles), black & white, (tinted and plain, again with variations) and blue moonlight cards which remind one of Paris 1937 cards.

            A 693 or R/Photo A 6627 (North Cascade and Tower) is another rich source of varieties to look out for.

            A 716 appears to have been based on the photo used on the sepia R/Photo X 71. It includes the 'foam' statue (seen in the Taggart TV drama 'Root of Evil') with spray added to the fountain, now restored to the National Trust for Scotland gardens at Greenbank, Glasgow.

            Some of the paintings were also used as 'Real Photos' in the glossy sepia 'X' series, but I have not detailed them here. Close examination of the view will show that the photo is actually a painting. Watch out for the Union Flag on the top of the Tower of Empire. Gerald shows it at the west edge. Later photos show it actually on the east edge, where it was finally erected.

            I am preparing a detailed checklist of 1938 Empire Exhibition postcards and would welcome details of members collections of these cards, or, in fact, any other ephemera or souvenirs of this great exhibition.




                                                                        Stanley Hunter.

© Exhibition Study Group 1994