Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas. For some of my festive crafts and decorations, I have curated a collection of lovely Holly illustrations. Along with ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia, holly is heavily associated with the festive season.
There are many species of holly plants. Christmas Holly, also known as English Holly has the Latin name, Ilex aquifolium. The name literally translates as “with pointed leaves“. There are over 200 cultivated varieties
Holly is an important winter food for birds and animals. It grows in parks, native woodland and historic gardens. I even have a large Holly tree in my own garden.
I decorate my home at Christmas with the cuttings from my holly tree and give a few out to friends to use for their Christmas wreaths.
Why Is Holly Associated With Christmas?
- Many Christmas cards feature Holly drawings.
- Holly is used as a Christmas decoration, especially in Christmas wreaths.
- It’s immortalized in Christmas songs and carols, such as “The Holly & The Ivy”
- It’s a colourful evergreen plant with shiny green leaves and red berries that are at their best during the winter.
- Holly leaves and berries are in the classic red and green colours of Christmas.
- Holly also has a religious connection to Christmas and Christ. The sharp prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns worn by Christ, and the berries represent drops of his blood. In Scandinavia, it is known as the Christ Thorn.
- It has been associated with winter festivals since Roman times. During the Roman festival of Saturnalia, citizens decorated their homes with garlands of evergreen plants and tied holly clippings to the presents they gifted.
The Holly Illustrations
To download the holly print you want, click on the title above that image. A higher resolution holly picture will open as a new window in your browser. If you right-click on that image with your mouse, you will have the option to save the image to your hard drive.
The first set of Holly prints, are botanical drawings and the second set Christmas illustrations.
The Botanical Illustrations
Holly botanical illustration, from Elizabeth and Sarah Mary Fitton’s Conversations on Botany, 1817.
This vintage holly print is from the “Atlas der Alpenflora“, published in1882.
Print from “Billeder af nordens flora” (Pictures of Nordic Flora), published in 1917.
A holly drawing by the Dutch artist Christiaan Sep from the book “Flora Batava“, (1844)
A drawing of Holly with an insect from John Curtis’s book “British Entomology“, (1823).
The insect is a weevil. There is a wonderful collection of insect illustrations and plants with the insect art prints Of Joris Hoefnagel.
Illustration of common holly from the book “Elements of the science of botany“, by Richard Duppa, published 1812.
A botanical illustration is from the pocketbook “Wayside and woodland blossoms: a pocket guide to British wild-flowers for the country rambler“, by Edward Step,1895.
The Christmas Holly Illustrations and Drawings
A holiday postcard with holly (1909), from the collection at the Missouri History Museum.
Another postcard from the Missouri History Museum, (1907).
Christmas postcard with holly drawing, Missouri History Museum, (1908).
There are more vintage Christmas card illustrations here.
Christmas postcard with holly border, Missouri History Museum, (1910).
You will find many examples of holly borders in the American Type Founders Specimen book.
Holly from Tennyson
Holly illustrations from the Christmas book by the famous English poet Alfred Tennyson, “Holly from Tennyson“, (published 1900).
There are a few more holly drawings and even a holly wreath in this collection of vintage Christmas images on Picture Box Blue.