Christmas Cards – The John Lewis Printing Collection

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian

Our lovely John Lewis Printing Collection comes complete with a fabulous and fun range of Christmas cards dating to their origin in the Victorian period.

xmascardsAccording to Lewis (1976), Charles Dickens had a heavy influence on the initial themes of Christmas cards. Published seven years before the first card in 1836, ‘Pickwick Papers’ encouraged, ‘pictures of stage coaches, snowclad landscapes, robin red-breasts and rosy-cheeked children sliding on the ice.’ (Lewis, 1976)

Lewis describes many of the Victorian cards he discusses as having come from the collection of a Miss Cissie Crane, whose album included nearly 200 cards (Lewis, 1976). Our favourite kittens with moveable heads came from this collection too:

output_aq6oxE

Chromo-lithography was commonly used to create early Christmas cards, but there was a boom in ‘do-it-yourself’ creations after the Second World War (Lewis, 1976). For example, this card by Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller from roughly 1955 uses an old postcard from the early 1900s:Photo 19-11-2015, 15 11 57 - Copya

Lewis (1976) recounts another amusing way to reuse Christmas cards that he discovered in the 31 December 1948 issue of The Spectator: simply add your name to the bottom of the card you receive, send it on to your friends and let them ponder the mystery of the original sender’s inscription!

You’ll find more of our John Lewis Christmas cards featured in the # calendar on Twitter and in our #12DaysOfChristmas count down on Instagram.

Merry Christmas!

TreeCard3

Sources:

Lewis, J (1976) Collecting Printed Ephemera. London: Cassell and Collier Macmillan

One thought on “Christmas Cards – The John Lewis Printing Collection

  1. Pingback: Valentine’s Day Cards – The John Lewis Printing Collection | Beckett, Books and Biscuits: University of Reading Special Collections

Leave a Reply