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Tuck Raphael & Sons


Raphael was married to the former Ernestine Lissner in March 1848.[2] She gave birth to seven children, four boys and three girls, all born in Prussia prior to their migration to England. As the family of seven children grew older, the children provided more help to the business.[1] Raphael sent out his sons, Herman, Adolph and Gustave, to bring in more business. Herman and Adolph also went on selling trips, and at the end of the day they would check the results of the day's work. The one with the higher sales would have the bigger egg next morning for breakfast.

Three of the four sons participated in the firm established by their father. Their second son, Adolph, was chairman and managing director of Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd. until his death on 3 July 1926. He was created a baronet on 19 July 1910 (see Tuck baronets). The Tuck coat-of-arms features a shield with a flaming antique lamp above which are two hands in the attitude of prayer, with two crossed F’s in a circle at the lower part of the shield. The crest shows a seated lion supporting an artist's palette whereupon is inscribed the work “Thorough". The Tuck motto inscribed on a ribbon below the shield is Cum Deo (i.e., "with God").

Raphael had received training in graphic arts in his home country; also, although he was not an artist himself, he had a flair for commercial art that prompted his interest in this new field. Upon coming to England, he caught the imagination of the public in such a way that he was able to create a new graphic arts business. He was so successful at it that, according to The Times he "opened up a new field of labour for artists, lithographers, engravers, printers, ink and paste board makers, and several other trade classes".[citation needed]

Tuck’s continued to run very successful postcard competitions through the early 1900s with the focus changing to collectors of Tuck postcards rather than of postcards by the artists whose work was depicted. The top part of the 1903 Tuck Exchange Register pictured above announces the second of Tuck’s prize competitions which began in 1900. The prize competitions aroused much interest. The first contest winner turned in a collection of 20,364 cards over the 18-month duration of the contest. The second prize competition winner submitted 25,239 cards. In 1914 the fourth prize competition was announced. The competitions were a novel and effective marketing technique.

Although the Tuck firm did some black-and-white printing in their London offices, the majority of colour work was contracted for in Germany, Raphael’s home country. This is evidenced by the wording "printed (or chromographed) in Bavaria" (or Germany or Saxony) inscribed on the majority of the early Tuck postcards.

The greatest period of expansion of the Tuck firm came under the direction of Adolph who had joined his father in 1870. Gustave and Herman soon followed their brother in 1871. Adolph became managing director, which included control of the art department. Gustave directed the book and calendar departments, while Herman handled the financial end of the business.

Raphael House enabled the Tuck firm to consolidate their various offices and departments that had spread throughout various parts of the city. In addition to the administrative offices, the new building provided adequate space for eight functioning departments: Card Department (Toy-Books, Gift-Books, Booklets); Birthday Book Department; Educational Department; Wall Text and Scripture Motto Department; Engraving Department; Chromo, Oleograph, and Art Study Department; Relief and Art Novelty Department; and Show-Card Department. These Tuck departments attest to the fact that the Victorian age was the age of printed pictorials that took shape by means of the various printing and engraving processes.