A favourite card series by Tony Walkley

Sniders and Abrahams – Cricketers In Action

As a dedicated cricket card nut this favourite set is, to me, not only attractive but also offers a certain amount of intrigue.  Whereas cricketers on cards appear as portraits, head-and-shoulders or in realistic, but rather static, full length poses, here in 1906 was Sniders & Abrahams issuing cards with a wonderful painterly and illustrative quality. 

But how come Sniders & Abrahams issue them in the first place?  And why on earth use the work of an English artist on Australian cricket cards?      

The paintings were by renowned English artist Albert Chevallier Tayler (himself a very keen cricketer) and were almost certainly commissioned by Lever Brothers to advertise their soap products in Britain.  You’ll note how white are depicted the players’ attires!

Now to Balmain where in the late 1890’s Lever Bros established a soap products factory and it is pretty certain that company founder William Lever would have sailed over to visit.  And it’s highly likely that he would have met local businessmen who could well have included Mr Snider or Mr Abrahams – or both.  Probably knowing that cricketers were popular for cigarette cards, Mr Lever could have shown copies of the Tayler cricketer pictures saying ‘we’ve been using these to promote our soap’. It also happened that Louis Abrahams was interested in artists of the time, and was himself a keen amateur painter.   

It doesn’t then take much imagination to link all this with the subsequent card issue! Real action cricketers for the first time on a cigarette card and in my view never again equalled for inspiration and quality.

Pure joy! But I still need a good clean copy of J T Hearne.

My grateful thanks to Eric Panther and Gary Nichols for valuable assistance with background historical information