Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case EDUC 3

A Happy New Year to You

Christmas Card
c.1870s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert in 1840 and from 1841, the Royal Family observed the German tradition of having a decorated evergreen tree in their home at Christmas. The Queen's popularity led many in the British Empire to adopt the custom. The origins of the practice lay with St Boniface who converted the Germans to Christianity. According to legend, St Boniface used the conical shape of a fir tree as an example of the Holy Trinity. Some believe that a miraculous fir grew on the spot where the Saint chopped down an oak tree worshipped by pagans.

Charles Dickens published 'A Christmas Carol' in 1843. Its enormous popularity led to an increase in the celebration of Christmas in private homes, both rich and poor, and the tree became a central feature of the festivities.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Chromolithography with cut paper work and embossed borders
Brief Description
Anonymous. One of a large collection of Christmas and New Year's cards, British, c.1870s
Physical Description
Seven children ranging in age are gathered beneath the boughs of the Christmas tree, the branches of which are filled with candles, flags and toys.
Dimensions
  • Height: 10.7cm
  • Width: 7.4cm
Subjects depicted
Summary
Queen Victoria married the German Prince Albert in 1840 and from 1841, the Royal Family observed the German tradition of having a decorated evergreen tree in their home at Christmas. The Queen's popularity led many in the British Empire to adopt the custom. The origins of the practice lay with St Boniface who converted the Germans to Christianity. According to legend, St Boniface used the conical shape of a fir tree as an example of the Holy Trinity. Some believe that a miraculous fir grew on the spot where the Saint chopped down an oak tree worshipped by pagans.



Charles Dickens published 'A Christmas Carol' in 1843. Its enormous popularity led to an increase in the celebration of Christmas in private homes, both rich and poor, and the tree became a central feature of the festivities.
Bibliographic Reference
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1953 London: HMSO, 1963
Collection
Accession Number
E.2029-1953

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record createdJanuary 15, 2004
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