Friday, November 18, 2016

Christmas Cards

Penny Black
Image courtesy: Images of the World
Great Britain's First Adhesive Stamp 
Issued May 1840
Queen Victoria's Profile
Now what does an historic stamp have to do with Christmas Cards?
Not only do we have to travel three years into the future from when the Penny Black was first issued to arrive at that answer, but we have to meet Sir Henry Cole.
Sir Henry Cole (1808 - 1882)
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Sir Cole, a long time civil servant, was not only one of those (he worked under Sir Rowland Hill) who was instrumental at that time in the establishment of the Penny Post in Britain - what we call the Postal Service in most areas of the world today - but also in the design of the Penny Black postage stamp and for our especial interest here, the first commercial Christmas card.
First Commercial Christmas Card
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843
Artist: John C. Horsley
This card was advertised in the Athenaeum Paper as: "A Christmas Congratulation Card" or "Picture Emblematical of Old English Festivity to Perpetuate Kind Recollections between Dear Friends"
It was to have caused quite a stir as it showed a child drinking wine, something I'm happy to say would still be cause for concern today in a Christmas card! The reason for the card was of course to help promote the Penny Post and the use of the postage stamp.
It was the age of Queen Victoria and a revival in traditions having to do with Christmas was sweeping the land of Great Britain. But Commercial Christmas Cards were not the only thing that comes to us from this time...can you guess to what I am referring?
If not, stay tuned to find out!

No comments: