1927 Gray, slightly marbled card (14 x 22 cm) with the ornate word “Greetings” on the front in purple. Inside is a tipped-in pencil sketch of Allen Lane looking a little like the young James Cagney. Text inside reads, “With all good wishes, G1 Albany W1, Christmas 1927.”
1928 No card known
1929 No card known
1930 (Not seen) Simple card reading, “With Greetings and Best Wishes for the Coming Year from Allen, Dick and John Lane; Christmas 1930; 16 Talbot Square W.2.”
1931 Large folded card (21 x 24.5 cm) with a Peter Arno cartoon of a driver turning left into the path of a steam train (taken from Parade, published by Lane at the Bodley Head). Inside is the text, “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from Allen, Dick and John Lane, 16 Talbot Square London W2, Christmas 1931.”
1932 No card known
1933 Large folded card printed on white paper (14.5 x 22 cm). The front shows a silhouette of two brothers surrounded by soda siphons, cocktail shakers, and various bottles. The text reads, “With all Good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from Allen and Dick Lane, 16 Talbot Square, W2.” An enormous flaming pudding and minute turkey appear beneath. Inside is a specially commissioned cartoon by W. Heath Robinson showing Allen Lane seeing a succession of authors via a system of pulleys and levers with the caption, “Mr. W. Heath Robinson’s idea of a busy afternoon in a publisher’s office.”
1934 Deckle-edged sheet (17.5 x 11 cm) printed with the word “Greeting” and an image of three little pigs (Allen, Dick, and John in their sailor caps) dancing and playing the fiddle and flute outside an architecturally correct sketch of the Bodley Head’s Vigo Street headquarters (based on Edmund H. News 1895 drawing). Inside text: “With all Good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from Allen, Dick & John Lane 12 Talbot Square W2 Christmas 1934”
1935 No card known, although Joan Coles, Allen Lane’s secretary wrote that she forged his signature on “350 copies of a special Penguin card.” Also, a small card (7 x 8.5 cm) in the form of a bookmark, with the text “With Christmas Greetings From” was issued. Clearly the card was designed to be an inducement for the public to buy Penguins as Christmas gifts, rather than a card from the Lanes (not pictured)
1936 Simple card (10.5 x 16 cm) with elaborate design of a yacht, mermaids, books and a swimming penguin, almost certainly by Robert Gibbings. Illustration in black, and text (mostly) in red: “Greetings from Allen Dick & John Lane 1936.”
1937 Simple card (15 x 13 cm) printed in two colors: illustrations of a skiing penguin and various penguins in scarves printed in black and the lettering in orange, “A Merry Xmas and a prosperous New Year from Allen, Dick & John Lane 1937–8.”
1938 Large folded card (24 x 29 cm). Front contains the text, “Christmas greetings from Allen, Richard and John Lane, 1938.” Inside is a large wood engraving and poem, and a one-third further fold inside with the details of the wood engraving, which is tipped into the middle panel: Wood-engraving by Tom Chadwick. The poem, “The Donkey by G. K. Chesterton” is printed on the facing panel. The woodcut is almost surreal: flying fish and a tree with a boot on, with three graves marked with crosses on a hill in the distance, all referred to in the poem.
1939 Card folded in three equal sections, landscape format (11.5 x 18.5 cm, opening to 34.2 cm). The front cover is titled “Penguins Progress in Three Acts.” A cartoon of three penguins with their arms round each other appears below. Inside are further cartoons and larger photographs of Allen on the phone in front of a world map, Dick struggling over accounts and check books, and John overseeing shipments of books to Barbados and Sydney. The rear cover states: “With all Good wishes from the Penguinary Brothers Lane” and “Silverbeck, Stanwell Moor, Middlesex.”
1940–1942 No cards known
1943 through 1945 (estimated). Simple card (9 x 11.5 cm). Undated. Text in black; illustration and design in red. The card has a penguin in two corners, and a puffin and pelican in the others. The text reads, “With best wishes for a Happy Christmas and the New Year from Allen and Richard Lane.” The presence of the puffin, the symbol of a children’s book line launched in 1940 and the absence of Johns name, suggests that this was issued between 1943 and 1945, after John was killed in action during the war in 1942.
1946 Not a card, but a rebus (a representation of words in the form of pictures or symbols, often presented as a puzzle) on a single sheet (20 x 12.5 cm) printed in two colors. Also a plain, unillustrated card (not shown, 12.5 x 10.25 cm), printed in red, in same typeface as the rebus: “With every good wish for Christmas and the New Year.”
1947 (?) Card (14 x 22.5 cm). The front is a quotation from Thackeray, inside is “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year 1948.” The wording on this is sufficiently ambiguous to venture a 1947 date for it. It was very often the case that Lane’s cards would be both Christmas and New Year’s cards, with both the current and next year given. A 1948 date given should simply mean that this was a 1948 card, but it is known that a book and small card was given at Christmas 1948; this card is too big to have been enclosed with The Happy Hypocrite, and would seem, besides, to be superfluous for that year.
1948 Inserted in copies of The Happy Hypocrite. Small card (10 x 7.5 cm) folded white paper reading, “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year Christmas 1948.” (Not pictured)
1949 Card on white paper, portrait format (9 x 13.5 cm). John Tenniel illustration from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on front. Inside is printed, “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year.”
1950 Card accompanying The Nun’s Priest’s Tale. Folded card (15.5 x 10 cm). “Christmas AD 1950,” printed in black around an oval design taken from the book cover, printed in red, with a red ruled border. Inside, “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from.” (Not pictured)
1951 Card accompanied St Marks Gospel. Small landscape format card (8 x 12 cm), printed on gray paper. The front has “Christmas 1951” above and a decoration in blue of printers’ devices below. Inside is “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from.” (Not pictured)
1952 Card accompanied John Gilpin (19 x 14.5 cm), reading on the cover, “Christmas 1952 / New Year 1953,” surrounded by a decorative border in red and gold. Inside is “With all good wishes for Christmas and the New Year from.” (Not pictured)
1954 (?) Card with a poem, “Peekaboo, I almost see you,” by Ogden Nash. Devised by Geoffrey Salter and printed at the Curwen Press. Elaborate, die cut card (opening out to 56 cm wide and 19 cm high). Two flaps fold in to meet at the middle, and a further flap, representing spectacles folds up from the center. Printed with two spot colors—green and pink—on black and half tones. A brandy bottle includes the words “Greetings from.”
1955 Card accompanied Selected Bab Ballads. Folded card on white paper, portrait format (12 x 17 cm). Decoration in blue ink of Gilbert cartoons repeated from the front cover of the book, with “Christmas Greetings 1955 from” in red ink below. The inside is unprinted; the rear has “University Press, Oxford.”
1956 Cream card, portrait format (26.5 x 33 cm, opening out on two sides to 67 cm). Text reads, “To wish you health happiness and good fortune” on the front cover with “Christmas MCMLVJ and New Year MCMLVIJ” running up and down the sides. Inside is a large John Piper illustration, commissioned by Lane, of the remains of John Rennie’s Waterloo Bridge, removed to a field in Harmondsworth, close to the Penguin headquarters. The rear shows an etching of the original (1828) bridge, and a little history of it. Printed at the Curwen Press.
1957 Card accompanied Private Angelo. Portrait format (10.5 x 17.5 cm), folded and printed on pink paper, watermarked “C. M. Fabriano.” On the front is “Christmas MCMLVII / With all Good Wishes from” / New Year MCMLVIII.” Inside is a longish paragraph explaining the printing process, and acknowledging the debt to Intertype.
1958 Card accompanying Boxwood & Graver. Folded landscape format card (13.75 x 12 cm), printed in gold, “Christmas Greetings 1958 And a Happy New Year, 1959, from.” (Not pictured)
1959 Card designed by Hans Schmoller and printed on grey Japanese Unryushi paper. The text is a Chinese proverb: “Enjoy yourself It is later than you think,” printed in English and Chinese
1961 Plain gray card (12.5 x 18 cm) accompanied The Trial of Lady Chatterley. Text apologizes for the lack of a card in 1960 and promises of the occasional book or keepsake “as the spirit moves me and the occasion warrants.”
1963 Card (14.5 x 23 cm) accompanied Without Prejudice with a text describing the discovery and publication of the accompanying book.