First Christmas Card by Sir Henry Cole and John Horsley
Reputedly the first Christmas card, this was designed by Horsley in 1843, and a coloured version sent out by Sir Henry Cole in 1846.
Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on 1 May 1843. The central picture shows three generations of a family raising a toast to the card's recipient: on either side are charity scenes including food and clothing being given to the poor. Allegedly the image of the family drinking wine together proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totaling 2, 050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each, and of those just a dozen are known to have survived.
We are offering reproduction prints of the original design. In 2001 an original version sold for a record 22, 500 pounds sterling at auction in Devizes, Wiltshire, England. After attracting bids from collectors in Britain and America, it eventually sold for the record-breaking price.
The auctioned card was especially sought after because it was sent by Sir Henry to his grandmother and aunt, and signed by the great Victorian.
John Callcott Horsley was an English painter, illustrator, and designer. Born in London on 29 January 1817, he was the grand-nephew of the English landscape painter Sir Augustus Callcott. His sister, Mary Elizabeth Horsley, was the wife of the famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Horsley studied painting at the Royal Academy where he met the painter Thomas Webster. His paintings were largely of historical subjects set in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, influenced by the Dutch masters Pieter de Hooch and Vermeer. From 1875 to 1897, Horsley was a rector and treasurer of the Royal Academy. Because he was strictly against nude models he earned the nickname "Clothes-Horsley".
Cole is credited with devising the concept of sending greeting cards at Christmas time
© Mary Evans Picture Library
Princess Helena with Prince Christian Victor
Princess Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (1846-1923) with her eldest child, Prince Christian Victor, born at Windsor on 14 April 1867. Christian Victor, known as Christle within the family attended prep school, then Wellington College, Oxford and Sandhurst before joining the army. He died of enteric fever while on active service during the Boer War
© Charlotte Zeepvat/ILN/Mary Evans Picture Library
Lancaster Castle Station
Lancaster Castle Station, Lancashire, pictured on the morning of the official opening of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway, for which it was the southern terminus Date: December 1846
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans
1846, Carlisle, Castle, December, Historical, History, Lancashire, Lancaster, Opening, Rail, Railway, Southern, Station, Terminus