Around the Christmas Tree quadrille



This quadrille is a set of ‘seasonal’ dance-rhythm pieces for piano in a popular, uncomplicated style, playable by most domestic performers. The cover illustration shows how a Christmas tree of the period might have looked, complete with candles and trinkets nestling in the branches. 

Victorian Britain reinvented Christmas in the mid-1800s, introducing or re-introducing many of the traditions familiar to us today: trees, carols, family gatherings, food and drink.

The Victorians even pioneered the idea of what a century later would be called the ‘Christmas single’: seasonal novelty pieces for the thriving market of amateur pianists entertaining at home. The piano was a symbol of gentility and accomplishment, and tens of thousands were sold every year – though the cheapest Broadwood still cost £45, a year’s salary for many manual workers. 

Little is known about the composer, Hyppolite (the correct spelling) van Landeghem, a freelance teacher, composer, and polemicist on disabilities, active in South London in the 1860s.

Full title
Around the Christmas Tree quadrille
estimated 1876, London
Musical score / Illustration / Image
Hippolite Van Landeghem
Held by
British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain

Related articles

Victorian Christmas

Article by
Judith Flanders
The middle classes, Popular culture

Judith Flanders describes how many of our own Christmas traditions – from trees and crackers to cards and carols – have their origins in 19th-century industrial and commercial interests.

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