Medium: Print on paper
The penny post was started in Britain in 1840 by Rowland Hill. The idea was simple: a penny stamp was bought by the sender and this allowed a letter or card to be sent anywhere in the country.
In 1843, Sir Henry Cole printed a thousand cards and sold them in his art shop in London for one shilling each. The idea of sending greetings cards was encouraged by the railways: post could be delivered quickly across the country, and in 1870 a halfpenny postage rate was introduced.
Traditionally, Christmas cards showed religious pictures - tableaux of Mary, Joseph and the infant Christ were popular, as were other scenes from the Nativity story. Cards like this one were attractively illustrated, and this made then very desirable advertising material.