Of all of the gothic art out there, almost everything has roots in the victorian era world. Back then, the pictures, the style, the art, everything was this very particular aesthetic that lives on today in many goth cultures. The reason why that is has been studied many times over, by both historians and art lovers, which gave us quite a bit of information. For one, the reason why everything in the Victorian era is depicted as dark and brooding is because of the architecture.
In the 1740s, there was a revivalist movement in architecture to bring back medieval designs, and medieval-style buildings. This means a lot of arches, spires, and spindly structures, all of which are firmly set in an absolutely dark period of human history, the medieval, even if it is bastardised and romanticised to the point of being unrecognisable.
Further, it’s not just the architecture, but the literature as well. Lots of writers used the already existing structure of the gothic buildings to paint a foreboding atmosphere for their stories, resulting in what can only be described as a world-changing event. As such, even the people living in the times had a tendency to have unusual and gothic tastes. Christmas, which is supposed to be jolly and happy, had really unusual cards.
#1 Greetings From Krampus
Grunge explains why Victorians were so unsettling!
The Victorians were a little bit obsessed with death. Sounds messed up, but it makes sense when you consider the smorgasbord of diseases that stalked Victorians—measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, rubella, typhus, and cholera. It was a sort of gauntlet of death that children and adults alike ran through every day. Those very real threats and sense of loss led to people keeping memento mori (Latin for “remember you must die”) trinkets, like locks of hair and photos of the dead.
#2 May All Jollity ‘lighten’ Your Christmas Hours
Remember that photographs were still a fairly technology, and they were only starting to become affordable in the mid-1800s. As such, it was often only when something tragic happened that people would think to immortalize their loved ones in photographs. That gave rise to the seriously creepy trend of death photography.
#3 A Merry Christmas To You
The bodies were often kept at home for the mourning period, and photographs were staged with not just the deceased, but their parents or siblings, sometimes posing as if everyone were still alive. Children sat with their dead parent, parents held their dead children…you get the idea. Some photos even show faces with open eyes that were painted right on the photo. They’re eerie, creepy, and incredibly heartbreaking, especially when you consider these photos capture the one and only chance that many grieving families had to get a photo of their loved ones.
#4 May Yours Be A Joyful Christmas
#5 Wishing You A Merry Christmas
#6 May Christmas Be Merry
#7 A Merry Christmas
#8 A Happy Christmas
#9 A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year
#10 Amongst The Cannibals
#11 Here’s A Crow For Christmas
#12 Wishing You A Jolly Christmas
#13 A Happy Christmas
#14 A Hearty Christmas Greeting: Four Jovial Froggies A Skating Would Go
#15 A Merry Christmas To You
They continue with;
If you’ve ever seen any Victorian period piece, you’ve seen the adorable but filthy children that live in the streets, picking pockets and causing a general sort of trouble. The plight of orphan children was very real, and according to writer and historian Sarah Wise, estimates suggest that there were around 30,000 children were living on the London streets in 1869.
#16 A Merry Christmas
Wealthy philanthropists took up the cause, including Miss Annie Macpherson. Macpherson set up some schools to teach the kids useful skills, but the problem soon became overwhelming. So she changed gears and became a champion of the disturbing practice of emigration: kids were pulled off the streets and out of workhouses to be shipped overseas to British colonies. Many ended up laboring as farm help or working as domestic servants, and by 1904 Macpherson alone had sent 12,000 children to Canada.
#17 A Happy Christmas To You
The Maritime Archives & Library of the National Museums Liverpool says children were also sent to Australia and New Zealand, and between 1870 and 1914, 80,000 kids were sent just to Canada. The practice was hugely controversial even at the time, as the agencies rarely followed up on the kids they placed overseas and investigations showed that contrary to the lofty goals emigration groups had, their lives rarely actually got better.
#18 As All I’m Good For Is A Used Up
#19 Absent Friends
#20 A Happy Christmas
#21 A Happy Christmas To You
#22 May You Spend A Happy Chritmas
#23 A Merry Xmas
#24 Wishing You A Purr-Fectly Happy Christmas
#25 Washed Ashore
#26Wishing You A Merry Christmas
#27 The Best Wishes Of The Season To You
#28 Every Good Wish For Your Christmas
#29 Haunted Snow
#30 A Right Merry Christmas To You
It doesn’t get any better!
According to Cornwall’s Bodmin Hospital, the population of England’s insane asylums skyrocketed through the 19th century. Apparently most of the patients fell under three labels: the manic, the melancholic, and those with dementia. The symptoms of those diagnosed with the Big Three varied, and they weren’t the only messed up reasons you could be committed—nor was England the only place that went a little crazy with all the crazy.
#31 Who Quite Enjoys The Flirting And The Fuss!
West Virginia’s Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s records of common causes of mental illness for patients admitted between 1864 and 1889 reads like either a college student’s to-do list or a really good Friday night. On their list were offenses like laziness, novel reading, superstition, an immoral life, and intemperance, along with every single kind of self-pleasure you can imagine.
#32 A Jolly Christmas
Women weren’t left out, either, and there are some equally bizarre possible causes of mental illness. Those include things like “imaginary female trouble” and “hysteria,” along with “rumor of husband murder” and “fits and desertion of husband.” Yikes.
#33 Wishing You A Happy Christmas
#34 May Xmas Be As Bright As Purest Gold
#35 Hurrah! For The Jolly Christmas Tree
#36 A Christmas Greeting
#37 The Night Is Dark And My Messenger Moth
#38 With Many Merry Christmas Greeting
#39 Before I Go Out Of The Picture Pass…
#40 A Merry Christmas To You
#41 Best Wishes For Christmas
#42 Merry Christmas Day!
#43 A Happy Christmas To You
#44 The Merry Dance When Dinner Is Done
#45 Hold To The Light
#46 Who’s Afraid?
#47 I Have Come To Greet You
#48 A Joyful Christmas To You
#49 A Happy Christmas
#50 Be Yours This New Year’s Day!
What do you think? Would you send these cards to someone? Tell us in the comments!