Tea-time picture card fun is revived in Suffolk and Essex

The old tradition of having small collectors picture cards in boxes of tea is set to be revived by t

The old tradition of having small collectors picture cards in boxes of tea is set to be revived by the East of England Co-op with pictures of old planes from the region for people to collect. Geoff Pleasance with one of the designs. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Tea drinkers growing up from the 1950s to the final years of the last century will recall the fun of collecting picture cards every time they opened a new packet.

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- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Subjects ranged from British wildflowers to costume, history of the motor car to famous Britons, and African wildlife to tropical birds, and the little illustrated cards are still highly collectable today.

Now they are being revived – after the East of England Co-op and Suffolk tea and coffee blending firm Butterworths and Sons teamed up to produce a special set of 25 cards featuring the region’s aviation history.

The cards have the theme Airborne over East Anglia showing historic scenes – all reproductions of original artworks commissioned by Robert Butterworth and painted by well-known Suffolk artist, Geoff Pleasance, whose lifelong fascination with aviation was sparked by a family trip to the Felixstowe Air Show aged seven.

Mr Pleasance, whose art is held is in private collections around the world, has completed in the region of 6,000 commissions working extensively with the USAAF and RAF. He is currently involved in a major arts commission with Suffolk Aviation Heritage.

The tea cards are all reproductions of original artworks commissioned by Robert Butterworth and pain

The tea cards are all reproductions of original artworks commissioned by Robert Butterworth and painted by esteemed Suffolk artist Geoff Pleasance. L-R Kevin Warden,Robert Butterworth Junior,Robert Butterworth Senior,Geoff Pleasance. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown


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Speaking at the launch at Bentwaters Cold War Museum, he said: “Airborne over East Anglia has been a wonderful project to work on – Robert Butterworth outlined the planes and locations he wanted for each painting and I simply set to work bringing his vision to life.

“My technical skill comes from a lifelong interest in aviation – perhaps sparked too by comics such as The Eagle which featured technological cut-aways that were a constant source of fascination to me.

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“Our series of 25 paintings span the decades from the first balloon ascent over Suffolk in 1785 to the outbreak of the Second World War. It’s been a wonderful project to work on.”

Butterworths and Sons, of Bury St Edmunds, will have the cards in every 40 -eabag pack of their Suffolk Special Blend and English Breakfast Blend sold at Co-op stores in Essex and Suffolk.

Kevin Warden, local and fresh foods product manager, said: “Reviving the tradition of the collectible tea card brings a touch of nostalgia for our customers to enjoy – and I’m sure they’ll love the wonderful designs which bring our region’s aviation history to life.”

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