Thursday, 21 February 2013

Brooke Bond Teacard - Wild Birds In Britain

Tea  and cigarette cards, once given free in packs of well known brands are the epitome of ephemera. They can be collected and treasured or treated as mere rubbish and discarded with the empty box or packet. For me, there is in these tiny cards, a poetry. Not unlike a haiku, they are complete in wisdom and beauty. The small and compact size demanded tight and concise design and typesetting and the result is almost always a perfectly balanced combination of illustration and information. The narrative aspect flows from image to text in a continuous loop - just keep turning it over and over.
Portable and instant they serve as a cache of facts more immediate and intoxicating than any search engine hit for the same information.

Like a flock of visiting winter birds, the set of these cards, illustrated by C.F. Tunnicliffe 
are beautiful both as a collection and as individual cards 

Brooke Bond issued these cards in 1965, they measure 68mm x 36mm


A large flock of waxwings have been visiting my local area since November. As it says on the back of the tea card, the birds are driven south by bad weather in a search of food, it could be years before they visit here again. Even though they are fleeting visits, I look out for them, despite that they may be long gone to another berry tree on a distant moor. Along with the trivia from daily events, rare bird sightings become catalogued in the memory as cerebral ephemera, stored away and ready for retrieval for some future query of time or place, or just for the pure joy of remembering an ephemeral event.

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