Case 1 - New Zealand Christmas Numbers 1

New Zealand Graphic. Christmas Number, 1895.

New Zealand Graphic. Christmas Number, 1895.

The Christmas issue of New Zealand Graphic was published in Auckland by Henry Brett between 1890 and 1907. For a time it bore the lengthier title The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies’ Journal, and frequently featured stories and articles by women writers. While Christmas issues were largely pictorial, regular issues comprised mainly text and advertisements.

The cover artwork of this 1895 issue is by Robert Hawcridge (1866-1920) a Yorkshire-born, Dunedin-based commercial artist who specialised in book illustration and lithography. He taught at Dunedin School of Art and exhibited his work at the Otago Art Society.

New Zealand Graphic. Christmas Number, 1895.

New Zealand Graphic. Christmas Number, 1895.
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The Otago Daily Times & Witness. Christmas Annual, 1898.

The Otago Daily Times & Witness. Christmas Annual, 1898.

The Christmas annual issued by the Otago Daily Times & Witness was an extremely popular publication during the 1890s and 1900s. Notable for its photographic illustrations of Māori people and of ‘town, province and colony’, it was frequently sent as a memento to relations in the ‘home country’.

The cover artwork of this 1898 issue, again by Hawcridge, depicts a Māori family cooking a Christmas pudding over a thermal pool. As Dunedin historian Ali Clarke states “the portrayal … conveys the sense of the exotic and the desire for the familiar felt by colonists at Christmas in their adopted country. It also reveals something of the way colonists felt an ideal Māori family would look – a nuclear group in front of an individual family home.”

The Otago Daily Times & Witness. Christmas Annual, 1898.

The Otago Daily Times & Witness. Christmas Annual, 1898.
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Weekly Press. Christmas Number, 1903.

Weekly Press. Christmas Number, 1903.

The Weekly Press began in Christchurch in 1865 as a news summary for rural readers. Its Christmas number existed for a number of years before it was first issued with a full-colour lithographed art cover in 1893. The Christmas numbers played an important role in exhibiting the attractions of the colony to entice settlers and tourists, and continued until 1927.

The cover artwork of this 1903 issue is by the New Zealand chromolithographer, designer and painter Philip Robert Presants (1867-1942). He was Chief Artist at The Press and is best known for his significant role in the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906-07, including the design of the programme booklet.

Weekly Press. Christmas Number, 1903.

Weekly Press. Christmas Number, 1903.
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