In 1843 John Horsley was commissioned to create a Christmas card for Sir Henry Cole (the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum) because he did not have the time to write all of his friends as he had done in previous years.
The cards were created on lithographs and hand-colored. The first card was supposed to have depicted poor people being fed and clothed but instead Horsley created a family party in progress showing a child sipping wine. The original intent was to remind Sir Henry’s friends of the great needs for the persons in poverty during this season. Instead it caused an uproar for “fostering the moral corruption of children”.
It is said that Sir Henry did not send out any cards following that year but Christmas cards were already on their way. The first year 1000 cards went on sale in London for one shilling each.
This was the birth of the Christmas card. The cards have changed greatly over the years. Looking back at these cards you could see the fads and styles of the area they were created.
I put some vintage cards on my blog. I hope you enjoy!