About this website
This Shell Postcard Catalogue is a follow-up to the collection of Shell Postcards published in "The Shell Picture Postcard Book" in 1995. Since then I have discovered more Shell postcards which are now included here.
The objective of this website is not only to assist the collector, but also aim at gaining further information about Shell postcards. Should any other postcards not included on this site materialise, or should any information be available on who designed and printed the postcards I will be most interested to hear. I am also keen to hear about any Shell cards that were postally used prior to 1908. Contact details appear on this site.
The majority of the Shell postcards were issued before the First World War from around 1900 to 1914, when postcards were tremendously popular. Millions upon millions were issued on every subject imaginable. The catalogue concentrates on these early postcards but also includes postcards up until the 1970's.
So far 150+ Shell postcards have been discovered, but no records exist in Shell archives as to how many were issued. It would be nice to know who the artists were and who printed them. Only two of the cards are signed by the artist. One is Jean d'Ylen and the other Cedric Morris. Both these artists also produced Shell poster designs.
It has also been suggested that W R Ellam possibly painted SQ69, SQ70 and SQ71. If anyone has any information on this I should be pleased to hear from them.
Numbering of Cards
I have given all Shell postcards an SQ number for reference, as not all postcards are numbered. If there is a number on the postcard, this appears in brackets after the SQ number i.e.SQ69 (246). I have kept the same SQ number as it appears in "The Shell Picture Postcard Book". Therefore, any new postcards that have been discovered will have a high SQ number, i.e.higher than SQ138.
Unfortunately my collection does NOT include all of the postcards illustrated in the catalogue. Therefore I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any Shell postcards for sale.
A series of 30 Shell postcards were reprinted in the 1970's. Unfortunately, these have been sold as originals, as no mention was made on the postcard that they were reprints. However, these can easily be identified as they have the words "Copyright Reserved" printed on the reverse bottom left hand corner. (See illustration to the right). The originals do not include these words. A later series were also reprinted in 1988 but these were clearly marked on the back "Reproductions from the Shell Postcard ©Shell U.K. Limited 1988". If you would like to download a list of Reprinted Postcards in Word format, please click here
Shell Art Collection
Some of the Shell postcards included, form part of The Shell Art Collection, which is housed at The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. The collection is unequalled in its celebration of Britain and motoring. Its representation of the history of graphics and of social change is among the most important in Britain.
The Shell Art Collection consists of original works by leading artists such as Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash, Edward Ardizzone, Edward McKnight Kauffer and many more who were commissioned to produce the famous 1930s advertising posters known as "lorry bills".
As well as the postcards and posters, an extensive collection of press advertising from the 1920s and an extraordinary collection of Victorian and Edwardian Valentine cards can be found in the archives. During the 1950s many other young talented artists contributed to Shell Calendars, Travel Guides and educational posters for schools.
Shell continues to commission and support artists today, endeavouring to create a future for Britain's heritage. Further information with regard to the art collection is available by contacting Nicky Balfour, Manager, Shell Art Collection, National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire, S042 7ZN.