William Henry Ellam Ephemera

One of the things
that always surprises
me about postcard
collecting is the
paucity of information
available about the
creative illustrators
themselves ….

— sometimes,
especially in the
case of early
1900’s artists,
there is little
credible background
information about
them –

– even the most
industrious ones.

A good example of
this is the case of
English artist
( and sculptor )
William Henry Ellam.

His work was published
by several large London
producers of postcards –

– like Raphael Tuck and
Sons –

— but yet, very
little of his pedigree
information can be

( I was ,
weirdly enough,
able to find a
picture that I
could verify as
him… which,
I guess just
proves how
well known
he was in
his time )

What I can tell
you was that
he was a very
popular creator of
political, sardonic,
and comic cards
from around 1900
through until 1925,
after which he
seems to have

– he was born
in 1858 at
Enfield, Middlesex,
England, worked in
London, first as a
stockbroker, and
then as an artist,
and died in 1935.

The first trace
that I can
find of him in
is from
1905, a card
which sarcastically
mocked the
participants of
the Russo-Japanese

— those were
published by
and Company ;

– after which there
are cards from the
A.G. Company,
C.W. Paulknert,
Wilde & Cray,
and an array of

There were a
large variety
of his designs
on cards dealing
with the geo-
political events
of the times,
and especially
World War I and
the class conflict
during and after.

It was during
this era
that his
most well
series, based
on :
Mrs. Caudle’s
Curtain Lectures

were released;
although others
of his anthropo-
morphic characters ,
like: ‘Little Teddies’
‘Cats’ sets also sold
very well —

and his ” Seashore ”
subjects were a
regular feature at
postcard stands in
much of Western
Europe, and were
available in several

Ellam definitely
seems to have
had a taste
for bad puns
( ‘ the Nuts ‘ ),

– and also for
the macabre,
and several of his
odder cards were
designed to appeal
for holidays, such as
Valentines, and as
Halloween items.

Another set of his
creations appeared
with cigarette packs;

dating from around
1910 and produced
for the Cope’s
Kenilworth brand –

Notable, despite
the fact they were
technically not
postcards at all,
but a variety of
card-size cut-out
paper ‘toy models’
– like a stage for
Punch and Judy.

His work is
usually signed
” ELLam “, although
this is not always the


!!! HOY !!!