8th day: The Strand at Christmas

A coloured cover for the 1903 Christmas double issue of The Strand

Most British magazines were slow to introduce colour covers, but many made an exception at Christmas. The Strand followed the trend – set by the Illustrated London News in 1855 – with a 1903 double issue and a coloured version of George Charles Haité’s iconic rendering looking eastwards along the famous street from the bottom of Southampton Street. (The first version was from the bottom of Burleigh Street, but this was updated by just changing the street sign when the George Newnes office moved a couple of streets farther west.)

The ‘grand Christmas double number’ also doubled the price to a shilling (12 pennies).

A&F Pears, the soap maker, tended to take the back covers for these issues. For the Christmas 1904 issue of the Strand, it used the famous ‘Bubbles’ painting, which had first been published as an advert almost 20 years before.

‘Bubbles’ on the back cover of The Strand in 1904

This is the eighth of 12 Christmas covers in a magazine version of ye olde English counting song The Twelve Days of Christmas.

There was also a selection of covers for Christmas 2019.

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