The Mad Librarian - We sell both scarce and decorative antiquarian books and first editions on all subjects. We offer a full money back guarantee and post out the next working day. All books are very carefully packed. Home of the Mad Librarian
Rooke Books - Scarce and decorative antiquarian books and first editions on all subjects | Rare Books
0 items
£0.00
View

16 December 2016: A Christmas History

 The Christmas we know today was inspired and somewhat created during the 19th century. The creation of a more commercial Christmas slowly grew throughout the century and several popular traditions were established by the Victorians. For example, Prince Albert introduced the German tradition of the Christmas Tree to England and the very first Christmas card was sent in 1843. 

 
With the encouragement for people to spend more money at Christmas and the Industrial Revolution reducing the cost of production, several publishing companies produced affordable 'gift books' for the festive season. These gifts were often anthologies of poetry and essays or almanacs of the years' events. 
 
The earliest known example of the gift book in England is Rudolph Ackermann's Forget-Me-Not which was first published in 1822. Ackermann appointed Frederick Shoberl as the editor of the illustrated work. Each annual contained a plate for each month of the year, which were commissioned before the stories or poems had been written. The author would then have to write a piece to suit the illustration. As well as fiction the work contained a review of the previous year's events. The popularity of this work led to there being sixty-three annual gift books being published in England by 1832 and Forget-Me-Not's own popularity steadily increased with a consistent print run until its final publication in 1856. We have several copies of Forget-Me-Not from as early as the 1825 edition. Our 1828 copy of the annual is held in the original rare slipcase
 
 Another popular example of a gift book we have are the yearly editions of Punch or The London Charivari. The satirical and humorous periodical was originally published on a weekly basis. Punch's national popularity led the publishers to create an additional annual edition, intended to be published near the end of the year, as a Christmas present. The yearly edition of Punch contained the articles, poems, cartoons and stories from the previous 12 months in addition to featuring a special Christmas preface. The Christmas preface often contained Mr Punch's review of the year which was started by John Tenniel. 
 
One famous contributor to Punch and an even bigger contributor to the Christmas print market was William Makepeace Thackeray. Thackeray's Christmas Books are today often overshadowed by his contemporary Charles Dickens' well known tales such as A Christmas Carol. However, Thackeray's humorous, satirical, and profusely illustrated musings were incredibly popular at their time of publication. His Christmas works were often included in further anthologies such as  another Christmas gift book we have titled Christmas with the Poets. This anthology contains songs, carols and verse relating to Christmas and has contributions from Shakespeare, George Wither and Thomas Tusser among many more. 
 
Following the theme of joyful and humorous Christmas books we have a brilliant set of amusing gift books from the late nineteenth century. Puniana and More Puniana are a collection of jokes, riddles and humorous illustrations. The works are edited and illustrated by Hugh Rowley, a popular writer of humorous and absurd works.  To these volumes Rowley addresses the reader throughout whilst occasionally using witty and sarcastic asides which function as clues to the riddles of the main text. These books intend to bring fun to all the family and facilitate humorous after dinner conversation. 
 
The Victorians had the right idea when it came to producing gift books, or annual publications for Christmas, as they are still produced and sold today. Our view may be slightly biased when it comes to thinking of a book as one of the best Christmas presents you can buy, but it seems to have worked for the last few centuries.  
 
 

« Click to return to Latest News

Copyright © 2009 Rooke Books
E-Commerce Website BathE-Commerce Website Bath

Telephone

+44 (0)1225 448831

Email

sales@rookebooks.com

Blue Monday

Feeling a little downcast today? You’re not the only one....

Christmas Opening Hours

 Please note that Rooke Books will be operating limited...

A Christmas History

 The Christmas we know today was inspired and somewhat created...

Christmas Delivery Dates

 Dear Valued Customers, Over the Christmas period, please...

Cosy Tales

 Given this chilly December air we have decided to discuss...

Science Fiction

 Last week the world saw the ‘supermoon’. The...

When is a book not a book?

 When is a book not a book? When it's a... No, this isn't...

Printing In A Time Of Revolution

Here at Rooke Books we have a large collection of interesting...

The Lesser Known Works of David Garrick

 David Garrick is known for his incredible influence on...

The Nonesuch Press

 'Don't judge a book by its cover' is an English idiom of...

Watermarks and Spurious Editions

 Paper. It’s been around since the 2nd Century AD,...

The Library of Hugh Selbourne

 Over the next few weeks our website will be seeing the...

Roald Dahl First Editions

Many of us have fond memories of the children’s books of...

The Darwin Legacy

 Charles Darwin is a figure who needs no introduction, but...

Elizabeth Greenly's Signed Letters of Horace Walpole

 As mentioned in our previous post, we have recently acquired...

The Regency Library of Elizabeth Greenly

 We have recently acquired several lots from the sale of...