Christmas card, Anonymous

Christmas card, Anonymous

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (Happy Returns)
Christmas card
Anonymous
Britain
19th century
Oval cut-out chromolithographed cartouche on backing card with cut paper work borders and embossing
Museum no. E.2023-1953

A robin dressed in a hat and scarf greets a female robin in a bonnet. Two fledglings peek their heads out of the nest.

'We turn over ten volumes of robins, revealing robins red in all imaginable styles: comic robins, perky robins, robins in the snow.' The Islington Gazette, ca. 1885

The robin redbreast is a perennial favourite in Christmas card designs. Two equally mythic tales attempt to account for its colouring. A Christian legend tells us that the robin's breast was stained red by drops of blood while it comforted the crucified Christ. Another story also characterises the robin as charitable and self-sacrificing, recounting that its breast was permanently scorched while extinguishing the flames of a wren which had been set on fire.

This card can be found in Print Room Box 3.