It is not uncommon to find old Christmas cards in collections of personal papers; kept for their aesthetic or sentimental value, they provide us with a glimpse of Christmas’s past. While many of these cards are decorated with familiar Christmas images, including holly, robins, snow and nativity scenes, a surprising number include New Zealand-inspired messages and images.
This striking card was sent to Sir William Jordan, New Zealand’s popular and charismatic high commissioner in London between 1936 and 1951, by Wellington businessman John Moody Albert Ilott. Ilott’s hope that “the New Year will bring peace with honour to our Empire and our Allies” suggests the card was sent to Jordan sometime during the Second World War. A keen art collector, Ilott donated his extensive collection of over 400 etchings and engravings, including works by Rembrandt, Durer, Whistler and Renoir, to the New Zealand National Art Gallery during the 1950s and 60s.
As this is the final Special Collections’ blog post for 2011 we would like to take this opportunity to wish all our patrons a Happy Christmas and hope that the sun will indeed shine upon you over the holidays.
Katherine Pawley, Special Collections
Jordan, William, Sir, 1879-1959. Papers. MSS & Archives A-178, box 5, folder 1. Special Collections, University of Auckland Library