The First Christmas Card and a Mini Challenge

In 1843, English civil servant and inventor Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to create what was to be a very important comissioned work – a hand coloured triptych, depicting a family celebration in the centre panel, charitable acts of feeding and clothing the poor on either side, with the inscription “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You”.

And so the first ever printed Christmas card was created and offered for sale as the result of a little laziness and far too big a print run. Cole was too busy to take part in the tradition of creating hand written greetings so saw this as a time saving measure. Having printed too many copies, John Calcott Horsley then offered the extras for sale at one shilling each. The card also caused controversy in some corners of conservative Victorian society. It ruffled a few feathers as it clearly depicts a young child enjoying a nice glass of red wine.

Victorian Inspired Greeting Card Challenge (Now Closed)

The combination of boozy children, laziness and printing wastage makes this a an excellent story and a great excuse for a mini challenge so if you’d like a creative project to get you in the festive spirit, we’ve got one up our sleeves. We’d like you to get to work on your own Victorian style Christmas card. It might be a parody, a nostalgic tribute or a Steam Punk inspired homage to Victorian invention. The choice is yours but we’d love to see some brand new works. Here are a few Victorian inspired nuggets of art from fellow bubblers to get you in the mood:

Victorian dinosaur Carol Singers by martyee Our Farewell by ravendusk Raven's Moon by sandygrafik Lady Pearl by BadTaste Bouncing Off Clouds by Jeff Clark Peregrine Squadron on Maneuvers by Pete Katsiaounis Undersea Steampunk: Aurelia & her Jelly Cruiser by WinonaCookie Victorian Greeting Christmas card by LoveringArts A New Year by Carrie Glen Envy by rose-marie Forgotten Ghosts by Anna Roberts Tea Party II by Jessica Walker Dear Flower by Choumie Childhood by Ivy Izzard Emily and Constantine by Tanya Bond Mr Growland's Replacement by Sharaya Brooks

So go forth, delve into some Victorian Christmas imagery, do a little research and meet us back here with a brand new card design, fit for Tiny Tim’s mantlepiece. We’ve got four $25 USD vouchers for the most inventive designs and we’ll be back in a couple of days to peruse your creations. If you’re not sure how to link, try our step by step instructions.

AND THE WINNERS ARE! Congratulations to Diana-Lee Saville, AmbientKreation, HardtArdt and Bill Brouard for their fabulous efforts in this challenge. We’ll be sending you a bubblemail shortly. A great big thank you to everyone who took part! Here are the winning entries. If you’d like to see them in all their glory and congratulate the artists, just click on the thumbnails:

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