The treasure that emerged from today’s investigations of the Museum of Childhood book collection was a small red book with gold writing tooled on its binding announcing that it contained Tales from Catland. While kittens and cats are currently the most popular posts on the internet and social media, this popularity is not a new phenomenon. During the Victorian era cats were very popular as the subject of books, cards, paintings and even stuffed and displayed in cases with humanistic poses.
Inside the small red covers is a dedication to ‘Eliza Hewat from her affectionate Uncle Alexander 1851’. The Victorians were, of course, very enthusiastic celebrants of Christmas and the custom of giving children presents for Christmas really took off at this time. Many of our festive traditions today are rooted in how the Victorians celebrated, especially after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert appeared in an engraving celebrating Christmas at Windsor around a tree adorned with gifts at Windsor published in 1848 in the Illustrated London News.