Document: Westminster Abbey Christmas card, 1896 (COPY 1/130)
This Christmas card comes from 1896. Christmas cards in the Victorian era helped create the iconography of Christmas that we still see today, like snowy Christmas landscapes that would have been more common during the Victorian 'Little Ice Age'.
The violets along the border of this particular card, however, are not what we would associate with Christmas today. Violets, which were Queen Victoria's favourite flower, were very popular during the Victorian era. In this card, perhaps they were an allusion to spring-time or meant to symbolise love (according to Kate Greenaway’s 'Language of Flowers', published in 1884).
In The National Archives’ collection there are many examples of Christmas cards. Henry Cole, a lawyer who worked for the government in the Victorian period and helped establish the beginnings of The National Archives in 1838, introduced the first Christmas cards for sale in 1843.
Find some creative Christmas activities inspired by our Christmas card collection here: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/families/christmas/...
Owner: The National Archives UK
Source: Flickr Commons