The First Christmas Card
The first commercial Christmas card was designed and printed in London in 1843, at the suggestion of British businessman, Sir Henry Cole and featured an illustration of John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903), a well known British painter and member of the Royal Academy.
At that time Henry Cole had to send hundreds of Christmas messages, which he thought would take a lot of time and then came up with the idea of Christmas cards. He commissioned the card because pressure of business had prevented him from writing to all his friends at Christmas, as was his usual custom.
The First Christmas Card
The card shows three pictures:
- In the centre, the card depicted three generations of a family in a party, raising a toast to the recipient of the card .
- to one side the hungry receiving food;
- to the other side the poor being clothed.
The card drew criticism because showing a child enjoying a sip of wine was considered "fostering the moral corruption of children. But with most people the idea was a great success and the Christmas card quickly became very popular
One thousand were printed from a lithographic stone by Jobbins of Warwick Court, Holborn, London. They were lithograph on a single piece of pasteboard measuring 5 x 3 1/4 inch. and coloured by hand by an artist named Mason. with a greeting: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You." It also states that is was "Published at Summerly's Home Treasury Office, 12 Old Bond Street, London.
All the surplus to the requirements of Cole and Horsley were sold by the printer for 1s each.
Although 1,000 were printed, very few are known to remain in existence today.
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