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Art Matters podcast: weird, dark and wonderful Victorian Christmas cards
25-12-2018, 07:25 PM
Post: #1
Art Matters podcast: weird, dark and wonderful Victorian Christmas cards
Art Matters is the podcast that brings together pop culture and art history, hosted by Ferren Gipson.

Download and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a... dead robin? No, I must be thinking of Victorian Christmas cards. Christmas cards originated with the Victorians in the nineteenth century and unless you’ve seen some of the early cards before, there’s no way you could accurately picture what they looked like. Before we go into what I promise will be a dark and weird look at Christmas cards, let's start from the beginning.

‘What’s strange about the history of Christmas cards is that they start as Valentine’s cards,’ says Greg Jenner, historian, author and Historical Consultant for the award-winning BBC series Horrible Histories. ‘You can see it quite early on in the design of Christmas cards – they’re very floral, they have flowers on them and cherub, and romantic imagery... It seems to borrow the Valentine purpose.’

Prior to the cards with romantic themes, stationery with Christmas themes existed for the purposes of sending letters or for giving children reward cards in school. These might have had elegant illustrations with wintry themes and sometimes even had paper laced edges. They were costly to purchase at that time and the cost of postage was also high – these were two major reasons that sending letters was often saved for special occasions.
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