Friday 15 May 2009

Embroidered Silk Postcards from World War I

I have long had a fascination for these pretty embroidered postcards sent by soldiers and sailors serving in France to their loved ones at home. Many come in the form of an embroidered envelope into which could be tucked a little greetings card - many of these personal cards remain there still. It was thought until recently that the early versions of the cards were hand embroidered by women in the North of France to bring in some money when their livelihoods had been disrupted by war. One card survives which mentions the price paid for it - the equivalent of 3 new pence in today's money. This would have represented half a day's pay of a regular British soldier at the time. A French soldier would have had to set aside two days' pay for a card. Now the thinking is that even the early cards were machine embroidered. However, I do have a card in my collection with a dove. This card has separated from its frame and so the reverse can clearly be seen. The ribbons carried by the dove have been stitched with a shadow stitch which I don't think could have been stitched by machine. I would be interested to know what you think. If you are interested in the cards there is a very good book written by Dr Ian Collins : An Illustrated History of the Embroidered Silk Postcard and a website with more history for you.


  1. I have one of these cards sent from my maternal grandfather to my grandmother - see here

  2. I am so pleased to see your grandfather's and that you cherish it. I always find it so sad when I see these cards being sold from personal albums by relatives......

  3. Jacqueline,
    I have been collecting old postcards for many years and have several of the silk stitched ones. Some have a little envelope motif and others are silk stitched and mounted onto card. Several have Sister on them. Thank you for the book reference I'll try to locate it as it will be fascinating to read the history of these cards.
    Warm wishes Angela