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Christmas Greetings by Modern British Artists

[ Exhibition )

A drawing of a Christmas pudding resting on a plate with

Emily Sutton, Christmas Card, 2011, Linocut on paper, On Loan from a Private Collection © Emily Sutton

Get in the festive spirit with our collection of artist-designed Christmas cards.

Discover the personal and playful cards made by Edward Bawden, Ben Nicholson, Enid Marx and more.

Did you know that Christmas cards are a British invention? The first Christmas card is believed to have been commissioned in 1843 by Henry Cole, founding director of the V&A. He and his friend, the artist John Horsley, designed the first Christmas card as a way of encouraging ordinary people to use the newly-formed postal service to keep in touch with friends and family.

This festive Print Room display featured over 100 original Christmas cards dating from the 1950s to the present day. It included cards made by celebrated British artists including Edward Bawden, Glenn Brown, Barnett Freedman, Nigel Henderson, Enid Marx, Ben Nicholson, and Glyn Philpot.

Download large print labels


Want to know more?

If you’re conducting research into these artists or another aspect of Modern British art and would like to use our library and archive, please contact Sarah Norris, Collections Manager on