Christmas Cards from the Gibbs of The Grove Search of iMuseum

Christmas Cards from the Gibbs of The Grove

Posted on 20.12.2019

With its origins heralding back to the Victorian era, Christmas Cards were first designed by Sir Henry Cole and his friend, John Callcott Horsley. They were sold for 1 shilling each, which was expensive at the time.

In 1840, after the introduction of the ‘Penny Post’, cards were easier to send and the tradition grew.

Victorians exchanged, displayed and collected Christmas cards in vast numbers. Early Christmas cards had flowers on them, cherubs and other romantic imagery. Throughout the era, themes developed and the Victorians established the now familiar iconography of Christmas: robins, holly, ivy, snowy landscapes; Father Christmas and Christmas crackers.

A large collection of Victorian Christmas cards is held at Manx National Heritage, in the archive of the Gibb family, who lived at The Grove in Ramsey from the mid 1800s.

The cards tell us who the Gibbs were in contact with, both on the Island and beyond, and which festive designs appealed to this typical middle-class Victorian family. The cards in the image below include religious imagery (the Victorians are known for their morality and faith) and the ever popular floral designs which appeared on so many Victorian Christmas cards.

The archive includes the family’s Christmas lists. In the image below, Janet and Alice  have written out their Christmas card list for 1898. Included on the list is ‘Will’ their younger brother, also ‘Auntie’ Janet, who was the daughter of Duncan Gibb, a successful shipping merchant from Liverpool: Duncan purchased The Grove in 1838 during a visit to the Isle of Man. Janet and Alice became the last members of the family to live at The Grove.

Later lists, from 1935 and 1944, tell us that cigarettes were a popular choice of Christmas present, as well as calendars, scarves, and the odd tangerine!

This studio portrait shows Janet and Alice as children, with brother William and mother Sara Ann Turnbull Gibb. It was taken around 1891 or 1892 at Moore and Cowen Photographic Studio in Waterloo Road, Ramsey.

Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa from all at Manx National Heritage!

Blog Archive

October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
January 2023
June 2022
May 2022
March 2022
February 2022
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
February 2021
December 2020
November 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
March 2018
February 2018
December 2017
November 2017
September 2017
June 2017
May 2017
March 2017
February 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
August 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015