Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration


This is my 200th post and it seems fitting that this weeks challenge is Celebration. Especially as we are now coming into the holiday season and it’s that time of the year when many of us celebrate Christmas. Now I’m not so naive as to think that everyone in the world celebrates what is a Christian Festival. However I do believe that Christmas over the years has lost its religious connotation and become more of a celebration and family occasion where people gather to give out gifts to each other. Indeed, in many countries not considered to be traditionally associated with Christmas you will find trees, lights and even exchanging  of cards. Wikipedia has an interesting article about these countries which you can read here.

In keeping with tradition here is my Christmas Card to you. The original card is from a Victorian Design and through the magic of Paintshop Pro X4, which I am now using as my main photo editor, I was able to remove the original message and substitute it with one of my own. Now this leads me nicely into the main subject of this weeks post.

The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London in 1843 and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley. JC Horsley was living at Orestone Manor between Torquay and Maidencombe at the time, and it was here where he designed that very first card. In JC Horsley’s design, the scene showing children drinking wine proved to be extremely controversial. The temperance movement was gaining popularity in the UK and they soon objected, but it did not stop people buying the cards. Now call me a cynic, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier.

Two batches totaling 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each. One shilling was rather a lot when you consider that for a Victorian family consisting of husband, wife and four children the average cost of groceries for the week was 2 shillings and 6 pence.

It’s believed that the very first Christmas card was probably made in Germany centuries earlier than this, but the card designed in Torquay is the one which really marked the birth of the commercial Christmas card.

Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring.

Humorous and sentimental images of children were very popular

Later, animals were popular…..

….as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials.

In 1875 Louis Prang became the first printer to offer cards in America, though the popularity of his cards led to cheap imitations that eventually drove him from the market.

Later, the advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.

Copyright Notice: As far as I am aware all of the images I have shown here are in the public domain and are free of copyright due to their age. However, if you are the copyright holder of any of the images please contact me through the Contact Button on this blog and I will be happy to remove them

33 comments

  1. Congratulations on your 200th post. I once saw some vintage Christmas card in a museum. The history of Christmas cards is quite interesting. Thanks for the post. Merry Christmas to you.

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