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Sir Henry Cole

Person  Male  Born 15/7/1808  Died 18/4/1882

Born Bath. Secretary of the Department of Science and Art. He originated the custom of sending Christmas cards. In 1840, having worked on the introduction of the first postage stamp, he had a card designed and printed to send to his friends. In 1843 (the year of "A Christmas Carol") he commissioned 1,000 cards and advertised them for 6d each. Mastermind of the Great Exhibition for which he was member of the Executive Committee. He was largely responsible for the foundation of the Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum). He was also a great postal reformer. Died at home, 96 Philbeach Gardens, Kensington.

The V&A has plaques for two dogs: Jim and Tycho, one of which, we like to think, is the mutt in this print. Our colleague, Jamie Davis, has a good case for it being Jim: “What we know from the plaques is that Jim died in 1879 and Tycho in 1885. According to the V&A, (from where the lithograph image has been sourced) the lithograph was made in 1871. I think therefore it’s probably Jim - were both of the dogs alive in 1871, is it not likely that both would have featured in the litho?” It’s not conclusive, but people often own one dog at a time so Tycho was probably a replacement for Jim. Good sleuthing, Jamie.

2020: Prompted by Philippa Randall via Facebook, we have reviewed Nicholas Smith's V&A blog post "Pet Cemetery: Henry Cole, Jim, Tycho and Pickle". This confirms Jamie's identification of this dog as Jim. But Tycho was not Henry Cole's dog, Tycho belonged to Alan, Cole's son. And just when you think it's all resolved, Smith  finds another image of Cole with an unidentified dog (or possibly a cat).

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Sir Henry Cole

Information Commemorated at

Great Exhibition and Prince Albert

Designed by Joseph Durham with modifications by Sydney Smirke. Inaugurated by...

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Henry Cole at V&A

April 2018: Freshly regilded and looking splendid – but with a new metal walk...

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In memory of Jim, died 1879, aged 15 years, faithful dog of Sir Henry Cole of...

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Sir Henry Cole - NW3

Sir Henry Cole lived here 1879 - 1880. He originated the custom of sending Ch...

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Sir Henry Cole - SW7

English Heritage Sir Henry Cole, 1808 - 1882, campaigner and educator, first...

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