Gifts Today magazine

Celebrating the world's first Christmas card

The owners of Orestone Manor, the birthplace of the first Christmas card, have designed a modern day version based closely on the original design

The South Devon country house hotel, Orestone Manor, the South Devon country house hotel, was the birthplace of the world's first-ever Christmas card.

In 1843 a batch of 1,000 Christmas cards were designed by Sir John Callcott Horsley, founder of the Manor and brother-in-Law of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Sir John also produced Brunel's National Portrait Gallery painting on the Orestone Manor lawn.

Nowadays under 20 of Sir Horsley's precious Christmas cards remain in existence. One sold at auction in 2001 for £22,500, while the V&A's mint condition version is worth £25k.

To celebrate the birthplace of the Christmas card, the family-owners have designed a modern day Christmas card based closely on Mr Horsley's original design, which carries interesting information about the story of the first Christmas card inside.

Orestone Manor is giving away on request, luxury packs of cards free to all guests staying or enjoying dining at the hotel in the run up to Christmas.

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