The greeting card dates back to 1843 and we’ve Sir Henry Cole to thank. Name sound familiar? He was first director of South Kensington Museum now known as Victoria and Albert Museum. One of his first jobs however was at Rowland Hill where he introduced the Penny Post and is usually credited with the first postage stamp called the Penny Black.
Sir Henry Cole commissioned illustrator and artist from the Royal Academy of Design John Callcott Horsely to design the card which was then colored in by William Mason. The first print was for a 1000 copies by Master Jobbins in Holborn London, with this particular one being the only surviving example.
The very delicate Christmas card shows a festive scene of a family cheering to the Christmas season. Apparently the scene itself was a bit controversial as even the children were provided a sip of the merry drink.
Sir Henry Cole was very clever in his idea for the Christmas Card as to send the card, the Penny Post charged a shilling for each delivery.
While the original is heading back to the archives, a replica will be on display until the end of December.