Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Monkey & Dog under the Mistletoe!

MoDA's Business Manager, Claire Isherwood, has searched through the collections at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture in search of new Christmas content and has come up with some crackers! 

The tradition of sending Christmas Cards began in 1843 with the commission of a card by an influential entrepreneur, Sir Henry Cole, who is credited with devising the concept of sending greetings cards at Christmas time. The Victorians embraced this new tradition, but the first Christmas cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead sentimental images of children and animals, flowers and fairies.

Recent research at University of Exeter has found that designers of Christmas Cards during this period used fine art on their products as there was concern that the festival was becoming commercialized. The use of fine art in a affordable product was also a means to inform the average, middle-class consumer of the aesthetic value of the decorative arts. 

The strangest in MoDA's collections is this one below featuring a monkey and a dog under mistletoe. It is certainly very unlike any I have received this year.

Christmas Card from the Charles Hasler Collection (CH/5/4/2/2/11) 

Equally bizarre is this card featuring characters sitting on a yule log with a hogs head, a goose head and a Christmas pudding head playing kitchen implements as instruments.

Christmas Card from the Charles Hasler Collection (CH/5/4/2/1/7)

As well as these Victorian Christmas cards MoDA also holds some rather more modern ones, as featured in our Christmas post last year, including many designed by key figures in post-war design. Many of these are part of the Charles Hasler Collection; Hasler was an avid collector of all kinds of printed ephemera and typographic material, and a selection of some of the best items from his collection feature in our recent publication Charles Hasler Sends His Greetings

MoDA staff wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2016.

If you are interested in viewing items from our collections in the New Year please make an appointment by emailing

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