World’s first printed Christmas card goes on display at Dickens museum

The world’s first printed Christmas card, an artwork created in 1843 that went on to spawn a global industry, has gone on show at the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

Designed by Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley, in the same year that Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published, the hand-coloured card shows a family gathered around a table enjoying a glass of wine with a message: “A merry Christmas and a happy new year to you.

It was sent by a son to his parents. Of the 1,000 originally printed, 21 survived and one has been lent to the museum by a book dealer in San Francisco, The Guardian reports.

The exhibition, Beautiful Books: Dickens and the Business of Christmas, runs at the novelist’s former London home, now a museum, until 19 April 2020.

Photo courtesy of Neil Hall/EPA

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