'Jesus as Shepherd'
Religious Christmas card
Published by Marcus Ward & Co.
Chromolithograph with gold block printing
Museum no. 15780.16
One of four cards with central illustrations which fold at their lower margins to reveal religious poems within.
Christmas Greeting featuring Jesus Christ in white robe with burgundy tunic standing on a hillside. He holds a shepherd's crook in one hand and a white lamb in the other.
Christmas is one of the major Christian festivals and so Jesus Christ and the Nativity are often represented on Christmas cards. Even practising Christians, however, tend to prefer secular designs such as winter scenes, flowers or animals to religious imagery. This was as true in Victorian England as it is today. According to George Buday, author of the first truly exhaustive text on Christmas cards in 1954, 'the explanation may be that the Christmas card from its beginning was more closely associated in the minds of the senders with the social aspect - the festivities connected with Christmas than with the religious function of the season.'
Nevertheless, some publishers produced greetings which were specifically spiritual in subject matter, drawing equally upon the tradition of the Old Masters and new interpretations for a contemporary audience.
This card can be found in Print Room Box 3.