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Xmas to Greet You

  • Object:

    Greetings card

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    late 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chromolithography and embossing with gold block printing, on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Father Christmas, Santa Claus or Old Saint Nicholas take slightly different forms in each country. The history begins with Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, who is credited with many acts of generosity. The most famous of these acts was giving dowries to three sisters by throwing gold into their house at night when he could not be seen. After his death as a martyr he became the patron saint of children and young maidens, but also of sailors, businessmen, pirates and thieves. He was and is particularly celebrated by the Dutch, where he is known as Sinterklaas; the anglicised version of this name, and of Saint Nicholas, is Santa Claus. His feast day falls on 6 December, very close to Christmas.

As he was a bishop, he would have worn red ecclesiastical robes and this element of his appearance was further developed in the 19th century. Gradually, they all converged into the jolly old gift-giver recognised throughout much of the world.

Physical description

Greetings card bearing image of Father Christmas

Place of Origin

England (made)


late 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Chromolithography and embossing with gold block printing, on paper


Height: 13.85 cm, Width: 8.8 cm

Descriptive line

Christmas card with Father Christmas (Santa Claus) motif


Paper; Ink


Chromolithography; Embossing; Block printing

Subjects depicted

Christmas; Toys; Christmas cards


Christmas; Prints; Greeting cards


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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