Mignon Gypsy


This is another matt-textured hand-tinted photo postcard that I bought some time ago. I love it – in fact, it’s one of my favourite cards.  Click the image a few times to see it larger and in more detail and you’ll see how these hand-tints trick the eye! The tinting isn’t done as carefully as it appears but that really doesn’t matter as it’s the effect that the original artists and publishers were aiming at that’s more important.

I’ve done the bare minimum of restoration on this – just got rid of the worst of the dust and blemishes. Most of my work on it, after that, was just to enhance the contrast and intensify the original colours, but I did also add a little colour of my own, to her face and hair though, hopefully, not enough to detract from the charm of the original.

I’ve been trying to find out more about the ‘Mignon’ series of postcards, but haven’t had much success apart from finding a lot of examples of them on Pinterest, etc, so if you can – do please let me know!

16 thoughts on “Mignon Gypsy

  1. Beautiful card and oh my this opened a new world for me. I spent way too much time on Google looking at many post cards. I think there must have been several photographers who did the cards using various models who were definitely not real gypsies. I have looked at many photos of gypsy folks and they are almost always of dark complexion. Modern gypsies look a bit different now but back then the features were coarser and skin color darker.

    I think your restoration is brilliant. As always it boggles my mind. I looked at the card pricing on Amazon and one card was $18-99 plus $3.98 or so for shipping. They are not cheap by any means.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The prices of these can be high, but really shouldn’t be that much, Yvonne. If you ever want to buy any, it pays (pun unintended) to look around. Try Etsy.com (and check where the seller is before buying). Definitely don’t buy vintage cards from Amazon. I’ve never bought any of my cards from there.

      I think this was just called ‘Gypsy’ because of the pose and the clothes. These sorts of images are styled by the photographer – rather like a fashion shoot.

      Thanks, Yvonne.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The card reminds me of the painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I suppose you would call him a neo-Classicist, but if you do an image search under his name, you’ll find a lot of shepherdesses, young barefoot girls, and so on: not precisely gypsies, but certainly closely enough related to bring him to mind when I saw your card.

    It may be that the card is from his era. It also was a time when portraits of women appeared on art china, and one of the most famous was a peasant girl named Tillie. She was hand-painted onto expensive European porcelain, and eventually ended up on American products, albeit through decals rather than hand-painting.

    You’ve done a wonderful job with the restoration. I really like it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I see some similarity to his work. I was looking at some other cards like this (Mignon, but not the same series that this one will have come from) that an Etsy seller reckons are from between 1910 – 1914, but she might just be guessing. I discovered yesterday from the initials in the rhombus/diamond shape lower left that, while it looks like a French card, the publisher was Paul Fink, Berlin, so this will have been German. ‘Mignon’ seems to be the name of the card series, rather than the name of the girl.

      There was certainly a craze for pictures of peasant girls and children dressed like that, on cards and ornamental pottery.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know nothing about opera, so didn’t realize this is a character from an old opera?
    I see what you mean about tricking the eye — only the bottom lip is colored, but she looks fine until you magnify it quite a lot. I mix patterns, too, whenever I have to wear a suit & tie, and people always say “Aacck!” and send me back to change the tie, but “Mignon” pulls it off very well! “)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Mignon’ is actually the name of a series of cards – not all by the same publisher from what I can tell, as I’ve just seen a different logo on a similar card, but the one in this card is apparently by the publisher Paul Fink, Berlin. (See the PFB in the rhombus/diamond shape bottom left). But most of the Mignon cards have a peasant girl or peasant child as their subject so it’s possible that the idea originally came from the opera (you mean Ambroise Thomas?)

      As I don’t much care what I wear, I am also ‘guilty’ of mixing patterns and colours. My mother used to get really annoyed if I wore any colours that clashed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I guess that was Thomas’ big hit, and I thought the people on the cards were dressing up like the character in the opera.
        I read he also wrote an opera for Hamlet, and I’m thinking, it must have gotten quieter and quieter, as all the cast got killed off one by one! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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