One of the World’s First Printed Christmas Cards Is Now on Display
In terms of how we send and receive information, we have come a long way since 1843. But that's not going to stop a Christmas card issued that year from receiving its due. Thanks to a San Francisco book dealer, the Charles Dickens Museum in London is displaying what two notable entities have dubbed one of the world’s oldest printed Christmas cards, a move that will undoubtedly draw attention to the allure of printed products, as well as their legacy as forms of communication.
One of only a reported 21 still in existence from an original run of 1,000, the token of affection went to the “very dear father and mother” of a man named Joe. The hand-lithographed creation might seem like a fossil to people who prefer e-cards, as the New York Times notes, but, for others, it will pull at the heartstrings and make them thankful for not only the level of respect but also the fine detail that went into the card’s composition.
New #exhibition now open! Come see the world's first printed #ChristmasCard as well as other gems and many a beautiful book! #OpenNow #BeautifulBooks #Dickens #DickensMuseum #Christmas #DickensianChristmashttps://t.co/tflZ62lDoZ
— Dickens Museum (@DickensMuseum) November 20, 2019
While the holiday season will prove quite lucrative for tech- and toy-sellers, among others, Christmas card companies won't feel as if Santa put coal in their stockings, either. People bought more than a billion Christmas-centric cards last year, a total that not only reflects how much Americans love to send tidings of comfort and joy, but also how important it is to take stock of the tradition of making such outreach.
Enter the Dickens Museum card. Many Christmas customs date from the timeframe during which British civil servant Henry Cole commissioned the John Callcott Horsley-illustrated handiwork, so the fact that those up for a venture to the museum can travel back 176 years to see the card reaffirms the goodwill inherent within the Christmas season.
As for the card, given that the Times mentioned that fewer than two dozen of it remain, we became instantly curious to know the whereabouts of the others and about what text the purchasers wrote for their loved ones. That, then, inspired us to think about the type of writing instruments that they called on to show their kinship and promote best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy new year. These are huge perks of the promotional products industry. End-users benefit from the great care that crafters take to make unique goods, and then the public comes to associate the items with personal experiences.
In the case of the Christmas card, it sounds as if the intended recipients raised a reverent son and that Cole and Horsley knew the power of print to make lasting impressions. Therefore, to those who have the other results of their collaboration, here’s hoping the season affords you chances to show off your aged example of the beauty behind marrying paper and ink.