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Journée de Poilu

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (printed)
    France (published)

  • Date:

    1915 (printed)
    1915 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Letterpress on card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 68, box G

By the early 20th Century greetings postcards had overtaken folder cards in popularity as they were cheaper to post. A ban on Christmas cards to conserve supplies of paper was mooted during the First World War but the idea was abandoned in the interests of maintaining the troops' morale. This patriotic card from France was published to commemorate Journée du Poilu (Soldiers' Day) in 1915. "Poilu" (literally hairy one) was an affectionate nickname for WWI French infantrymen similar to the English "Tommy".

Physical description

Postcard in portrait format. On the front: illustration of two French soldiers in uniform, half length, holding rifles, one older and smoking a pipe, the other younger with a rose in his mouth. Lettered above the image with title and below with the dates 25th & 26th December 1925 (in French). On the back: postcard template, patriotic emblems, publisher's information, serial number, postmark Paris 28th December 1915, 10-centime postage stamp, V&A Museum stamp, handwritten correspondence, address, V&A and number.

Place of Origin

France (printed)
France (published)


1915 (printed)
1915 (published)


Unknown (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Letterpress on card

Marks and inscriptions

'JOURNÉE DU POILU / 25 ET 26 DÉCEMBRE / . 1915 . /'
Day of the Soldier / 25 and 26 December / 1915
On the front, above and below the image, printed in black (faded)

'Impressions Artistiques. Marque NÉO-PEINTURE. 12 Rue Ballu, PARIS. / S_No. 42681'
On the back, printed in black

'PARIS XVI - PLACE CHOPIN / 12 * / 28 . XII / 1915'
Postmarked on the back

On the back, handwritten in black ink

(V&A Museum stamp)
On the back, stamped in dark blue ink

On the back, handwritten in pencil

'Bonne année! / Meilleurs souvenirs / de nous deux / F. de Halstein'
Happy New Year! / Best wishes / from us both / F. de Halstein
On the back, handwritten in black ink

'R. Steele, esq. / 85, Devonport Rd / Sheperds Buch (sic) / London / Angleterre'
On the back, handwritten in black ink


Height: 13.9 cm, Width: 8.8 cm

Descriptive line

Postcard, letterpress on card, 'Journée de Poilu', printed and published in France, World War I, 1915.

Subjects depicted

Uniforms; Roses; Rifles (long guns); Pipes; War; Soldiers


Christmas; Greeting cards


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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