Wishing all the lovely visitors to this blog a very happy Christmas - I hope you have a cheering and festive time wherever you are.
This Victorian card was produced by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a forward-thinking organisation that advocated equal education for boys and girls even at the start of the nineteenth centure and was instrumental in the development of charity schools in Britain and overseas. The Society was founded in 1698 on the departure of the Anglican Thomas Bray across the seas to Maryland. Bray believed passionately in the power of words and books and the Society became one of the first educational publishers.
But they taught far more than Biblical knowledge: their model was to give a wide education in literacy and numeracy, with practical skills that would also enrich lives like woodwork and sewing and cookery. And I think that comes through in this charming example of an early Christmas card, in which the beauty of nature is celebrated. The humble ivy and bluebells (or are those flowers common lungwort?) give the comforting message that the joys of Christmas are around us for much longer than a day.