It’s hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration: many attribute the change to Queen Victoria, and it was her marriage to the German-born Prince Albert that introduced some of the most usual aspects of Christmas.
In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert’s childhood in Germany. Soon every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.
Victorian era seen through our eyes has a special charm, probably linked to the quality of the photographs, made with techniques different from those of today, but also for the first post-mortem images and other particular macabre, including hospitals “for the dead“, for example. During this period, however, also took shape some of the icons still more famous related to Christmas, including Christmas stories like “A Christmas Carol“, the tradition of the tree at home and the modern icon of Santa Claus. Below you will find a photo gallery showing Christmas in the Victorian era, both as it was seen by those present and how they wanted to transmit it with idyllic images.