Father Christmas illustration from The Graphic newspaper

Newspaper/Illustration/Image

Description

English

The figure of Father Christmas evolved considerably throughout the 19th century. At the start, this personification of festive traditions was known as 'Old Father Christmas': a thin, gaunt man who advocated merry-making and drinking among adults. By the mid-late century, however, his role and apearance had been transformed as revealed by this illustration from the 1874 Christmas edition of the Graphic newspaper. He had acquired the now-familiar rotund belly, red robes and black boots, and was by now associated with the giving of presents.

Full title
'Triumphant return of Mr Christmas'
Published
28 November 1874 , London
Format
Newspaper / Illustration / Image
Creator
The Graphic
Held by
British Library
Copyright: © 
British Library Board
Shelfmark
HS.74/1099.

Related articles

The origins of A Christmas Carol

Article by
John Sutherland
Themes: 
Poverty and the working classes, The novel 1832 - 1880

Professor John Sutherland considers how Dickens’s A Christmas Carol engages with Victorian attitudes towards poverty, labour and the Christmas spirit.

Victorian Christmas

Article by
Judith Flanders
Themes: 
Popular culture, The middle classes

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.

Related collection items