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A Merry Old 1920s Santa Claus

Posted by Deco London on

Santa by Norman Rockwell 1920

Santa depicted in 1920 by Norman Rockwell

The familiar image of Santa Claus wearing his red suit first emerged in the mid 1800s, but was forged in our hearts and imaginations in the 1920s through the illustrations of Norman Rockwell.

In 1881, German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast began drawing Santa delivering gifts and a few years later he added the North Pole and workshop for building toys into his imagery. In 1881 he published a picture entitled 'Merry Old Santa' - round, jolly and wearing his red suit. 

Merry Old Santa by Thomas Nast 1881
'Merry Old Santa' by Thomas Nast 1881

In the 1920s, American author, painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell developed this image further depicting Santa as a human grandfatherly figure.  

Santa by Norman Rockwell 1922

Saturday Evening Post Cover, 1922 by Norman Rockwell

It was another ten years before Coca-Cola further popularised the image of Santa,  in their advertising campaigns of the 1930s.

1920s art art deco christmas jazz age london luxury norman rockwell photography santa claus social history thomas nash vintage style

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