The postcard design (see reverse below) is similar to examples in my Winter studio profile and portfolio which I have estimated were taken in the 1920s.
On the back, in my father's handwriting, was written "A Obolensky is seated second from right." This immediately prompted me to look at it more carefully, and a quick search came up with the Wikipedia entry. Prince Alexander Sergeevich "Obo" Obolensky (February 17, 1916 - 29 March 1940) was a Russian prince and an international rugby union footballer who played for England. He was popularly known as just "The Prince" by many sports fans. (Note that the Wiki entry for The Ashe and Brasenose College were added by me). What I really want to rub in, just in case you have adopted a recent affinity to the All Blacks, is his part in the first ever England defeat of the All Blacks, a feat you can view on YouTube.
My father was at a private boys' preparatory school, The Ashe, at Ashe Hall near Etwall, Derby, and so this was the first easy clue, although I never remember him mention Obolensky. I took a trip out to the hall, now a Buddhist retreat, and sure enough the photo is taken on the path in front of the hall.
In order to attribute Obolensky as a pupil (as opposed to a member of a visiting team...unlikely but just possible) I managed to extract a very poor blazer badge from the photo. It is this that has occupied me to date.
Huge efforts at contacting people locally trying to track down former pupils have failed, as have efforts in local archives. The school only existed between the wars, during both world wars the building was used by the military. I got a response from an Obolensky I found in USA, and from her information from another family member, and established that his college at Oxford was Brasenose. The archivist there gave me good information, but sadly only his secondary public school, Trent College, was recorded by them, an already published fact. Trent College archives have no information except of course his sporting achievements.I wonder if any readers might be able to identify either one of the boys in the photograph (Click here or on the image above for a more detailed version) or the badge on the blazer? Perhaps we can find someone who went to The Ashe School? Please get in touch with me if you can help.
P.S. Nigel found the advertisement shown above in a 1935 edition of the "Derby County Borough & District Directory." It includes a facsimilie of the crest, which looks very similar to that shown on the boy's blazer.