Gift Books covered a wide field, from exquisite productions made in tiny numbers by private presses, through to expensive trade editions and the mass-market picture books. But among the earliest Gift Books Sold For Charity were some with a royal blessing, to which – it seemed – the royal family had contributed. Consider The Queen’s Christmas Carol. It came, as the title suggests, under the imprimatur of no less a personage than King Edward VII’s Queen Alexandra, a famous beauty in her day (though her day had been decades earlier) – a woman noted for charitable works. The book was issued in 1905 in aid of her Royal Fund for the Unemployed.
The Queen had lent her name to that book, but three years later came another Christmas Gift Book – this time with active involvement, we were assured, from the Queen herself. Instead of a book presenting contributions from famous authors and artists this one purported to have been compiled directly by the Queen. Queen Alexandra’s Christmas Gift Book was a facsimile of what appeared to be her own private snapshot album, with loose informal photographs tipped in, several to a page – an album similar to one you might have of your own family at home! Here, for example, was their “Little Caesarevitch”:
Soon would come more royal Gift Books, from other members of the family. But more of that in another blog. (Coming soon.)