The Culture24 guide to museum and gallery Christmas cards

By Culture24 Staff | 02 December 2009
A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing a snowman shaking a postman's hand

Although there are few sights more amusing than the visual monstrosities the festive season heralds, it can intermittently inspire beautiful art.

The Soma Gallery has come up with enough clever designs to cover the nearby Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, with pleasingly-priced cartoons by Damien Weighill and vibrant, colourful takes on more traditional designs, taking names such as Happy Crimble and Bonbon Baubles without straying into (too much) tweeness.

They also offer a recycled range (£1.90-£2.50, pack of ten £11, shop online to order.)

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing a creature on a snow sleigh

Recycled christmas card by Lisa Jones at Bristol's Soma Gallery

Graphic artist Stefi Orazi seems to have been inspired by the Hayward Gallery’s Ed Ruscha show in a pop art spin on a wintry Southbank Centre (pack of four £6.40, buy online), and the Tate's gone for a Bob and Roberta Smith design making the case for believing in Father Christmas, an Andy Warhol number and Eric Gill and Beatrix Potter cards (£4.89, visit Tate Online Shop for full range.)

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing different fonts in different colours

Designer cards from the Tate's 2009 Rude range

For versions to appease traditionalists, head to the Fitzwilliam Museum for some nativity scene classics (£2.95-£4.95), the National Gallery for religious cards (order online, £5 each, six for £27, 12 for £48) or Hungate Medieval Art, an interpretation centre in Norwich which has added imagery from its current exhibition on stained glass (80p, pack of six £3.95, call 01603 623254 10am-4pm Thursday-Saturday for postage details.)

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing the words make merry in plate font on a red background

The Victoria and Albert Museum's Alphabet de Capitals fleronneer card, taken from a 19th century bookplate, is part of a vast range of designs

The Design Museum imagines a bird surrounded by multi-coloured dots of circular snow (£3.95, pack of six £18.50, buy online or call 0207 940 8754) and The British Postal Museum has got four themes in a classy, wartime advert-style scheme (see top of page, pack of eight £3.95, order online.)

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing a drawing of a bird on a tree chirping a greeting against a backdrop of multicoloured snowflakes

Psychedelic snowdrops from The Design Museum

The shop at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry caters for “the more general Masonic customer” with slapstick cartoons (other designs available, £2, five pack of Sun and Moon cards £3, four pack of cartoon cards £5, 12 mixed designs £12.99, buy online or call 020 7395 9329) and The Brunel Museum is raising funds for the fine cause of a new gallery and performance space via a series of cards designed by celebrities (four for £1, call 020 7231 3840 for full details).

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing cartoons

The Library and Museum of Freemasonry's designs for the discerning dignitary

Michael Palin and Jo Brand are among those who've designed illustrations based on the Thames Tunnel for them, joined by Royal Academy of Arts President Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, who picked a picture of Isambard Kingdom Brunel chomping on a cigar in his heyday for his version.

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing a black and white photo of a man in a suit and top hat

Isambard Kingdom Brunel could be on your Christmas card courtesy of The Brunel Museum

The Bodleian Library has also taken historic inspiration, drawing on the ancient manuscripts and books clustered in its Oxford University home(£4.95, buy online).

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing a pop art take on a nativity scene of the night sky above a house

Eric Gill's Star of Bethlehem (pack of 24 £9.95) is one of a hoard of cards available at from the Royal Academy of Art's online shop).

You can't miss the bustling gift shop at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where a throng of card designs to match the crammed halls of the place are up for grabs, visiting goth fairies, Madonna and Child, holy tapestries, snowmen and Maharaja processions (pack of 10 £4.50-£6.50, choose online).

A picture of a design for a Christmas card showing a textile colour picture

Henry Moore cards to complement Pallant House's new exhibition

Pallant House Gallery in Chichester is hosting an intriguing Henry Moore exhibition until February, and has launched a card featuring his Multi-Coloured Reclining Figure piece, based on one of Moore's own designs for a Christmas card produced in 1967 (pack of eight £6, call 01243 770813 for details).

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