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A Merry Christmas to All

  • Object:

    Christmas card

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    c.1870s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cut paper lace, chromolithography and embossing

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC 3

Holly, as depicted on this Christmas greeting card, is widely used in seasonal domestic decoration. For devout Christians, the red berries and sharp thorns were not only decorative, but also symbolic of the Crucifixion. In the pagan tradition, holly was used to repel witches and evil spirits. From the 1840s onward, it is often paired with mistletoe in greeting card designs. Before the introduction of the Christmas card, it was commonly found on seasonal stationery and letterheads.

Physical description

Decorative cut gold and white irregular bordered paper lace with motto printed on embossed pattern of holly and mistletoe with berries

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


c.1870s (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cut paper lace, chromolithography and embossing

Marks and inscriptions

A Merry Christmas to All
Inscription; decoration; English; centre; embossing


Height: 7.9 cm maximum, Width: 11.8 cm maximum

Descriptive line

Anonymous. One of a large collection of Christmas and New Year's cards, British, c.1870s

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1953 London: HMSO, 1963


Printing ink; Paper; Card


Embossing; Chromolithography; Cutting (dividing)

Subjects depicted

Holly; Mistletoe; Christmas; Festivals


Christmas; Greeting cards; Ephemera


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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