Christmas and The Private Library, Part 3
By L. D. Mitchell
Two other publications helped revitalize Christmas celebrations in the mid 19th century. The first was William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), where many now-beloved Christmas carols made their first appearance in book form. Among these were The First Noel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.
In 1848 the Illustrated London News had published an image of the British Royal family gathered around a decorated Christmas tree at Windsor Castle. This image was "remixed" by the extremely influential Godey's Lady's Book (removing Queen Victoria's crown and Prince Albert's mustache) and published in the United States during Christmas 1850 as an American scene, becoming the first widely circulated image of a decorated Christmas tree in the United States.
With the advent of Christmas cards in 1843, everything was in place for the industrialization of Christmas, a topic which has been the subject of numerous books over the decades.
Increasingly, Christmas became very commercialized. Entire industries arose to produce Christmas cards, Christmas trees (and their accompanying decorations), Christmas music - even religious items like nativity scenes.
Of course, not everyone was complaining - in fact, many of the items associated with this commercialization of Christmas quickly became collectibles (and as collectibles they have spawned publishing industries of their own).
Among other Christmas publishing niches are those devoted to Christmas music, to Christmas meals, to Christmas entertainment (especially for children).
Aside from children's books and fine press books, Christmas-themed books remain one of the few publishing niches where talented illustrators still can make a name (and a living) for themselves. And they do so (have done so) utilizing a wide range of techniques everything from wood engraving, to chromolithography.
Among the many famous illustrators whose talent will be found gracing the pages of Christmas-themed books are Arthur Rackham, Tasha Tudor, Charles Robinson, Chris Van Allsburg, Hilary Knight, and many, many other talented artists.
A wide range of books have been published about book illustration in various countries, and anyone seeking to collect examples of Christmas-themed books illustrated by a particular author certainly will want to add one or more such books to their bookshelves.
And keep in mind that not all Christmas-themed books are illustrated in only two dimensions …
Are you looking for three dimensional Christmas presents?