|Reference Number:-||Sprake Number:-||Godden Number:-|
Woven on silk:-
Printed at top of card-mount:-
THE "LONDON & YORK" STAGE COACH,
Printed at bottom of card-mount:-
FROM THE "BLACK SWAN" HOLBORN, LONDON,
by Austin Sprake:
by Geoffrey Godden:
The picture shows the London to York coach drawn by four horses. Within a few months the same picture was reissued under the title THE GOOD OLD DAYS [st260 in this site]. As such, it continued as a popular Stevengraph into the twentieth century.
The point about the change of title is that, at the time of the introduction of these new silks at the York Exhibition, subjects having a local association were chosen - i.e. DICK TURPIN'S RIDE TO YORK [st144] and THE LONDON & YORK ROYAL MAIL COACH [above]. But once the local exhibition was over, titles with a wider appeal were needed; or at least, ones not directly associated with one city. Consequently, the same silk pictures were continued under the unlocalised titles TURPIN'S LAST RIDE [st156] and THE GOOD OLD DAYS [st260].
The basic difference is that the mounts are termed 'Stage Coach' (as described in the Yorkshire Gazette of 14 June 1879), whereas all other mounts describe it as the 'Royal Mail Coach'.
The wording at the bottom left-hand corner of the mount in the first example [st422] reads 'Manufactured in York Exhibition, 1879', whereas later versions have the standard wording 'Woven in the York Exhibition' [st416].
Above is the second example, which differs from that in st422 in that the wording 'Manufactured in York Exhibition, 1879' does not appear at the bottom left-hand corner of the card-mount but the word 'Registered' is printed there. This version may be a very early example made at the Coventry works rather than at the York Exhibition, for general sale to the public.
It is apparent that these two very rare card-mounts are also the earliest issued, for the size of the silk picture is smaller than this later Royal Mail Coach York Exhibition specimen and smaller than the even later runs of the same subject issued under the title THE GOOD OLD DAYS [st260].
Measuring the extreme size of the woven decoration, we find the length of the very early ones to be 4 4/5inches (with a small window-size of approximately 5 inches by 2 inches), whereas the slightly later silk picture of the same subject measures over 5 1/2inches, nearly filling the standard size 6 inches by 2 inches window. The rare first version is therefore nearly an inch shorter in length than the later version.
The main difference can be seen in the appearance of the leading horses - short and tubby in the first case, longer and slimmer in the later, standard, version.
On the image of [st415], the wording printed on the left corner of the card mount is not recorded by Godden, nor too is the version of wording shown in [st420]. As a result, it is unclear in which order the various card mounts were issued.
The only clarity appears to be that there were only three different silks woven.
To some extent there has to be conjecture as to the order in which the early card mounts appeared.