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A Happy New Year to You

  • Object:

    Christmas card

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    c.1870s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chromolithography with cut paper work and embossed borders

  • Museum number:

    E.2029-1953

  • Gallery location:

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

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

c.1870s (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Chromolithography with cut paper work and embossed borders

Dimensions

Height: 10.7 cm, Width: 7.4 cm

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

Materials

Printing ink; Paper; Card

Techniques

Chromolithography; Embossing

Subjects depicted

Children; Joy; Peace; Christmas trees; Christmas cards; Christmas; Snow; Toys; Candles

Categories

Christmas; Greeting cards; Ephemera

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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