Father Christmas illustration from The Graphic newspaper


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'
28 November 1874, London
Newspaper / Illustration / Image
The Graphic
Held by:
British Library
© British Library Board

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