by JO STEPHENSON
IT'S sad, but every Christ
mas more and more people have to exist under conditions of war, famine, poverty or disease and find their only hope is the goodwill of their more fortunate neighbours.
Charity appeals are once again building up to their seasonal full-steam but, before you become overwhelmed by the tide take a look at this year's charity Christmas cards which enable us to help at a very small cost.
Little criticism can be made of the selection that has arrived on my desk. They are bright, imaginative and feature first-class designs and colour reproductions. Altogether, there are 500 designs from some 90 charities. Of course, space doesn't permit a review of all of them, but charity cards are now big business. This year they are expected to account for a tenth of Britain's £30 million Christmas card turnover.
The 50-year-old Save the Children Fund organisation whose formidable task it is to provide the 0,000 needed daily to care for over 10,000 children throughout the world has understandably concentrated on children in many of its designs.
I particularly liked a "Madonna and Child" featur ing an Eastern and child-like mother with a Western fairhaired baby symbolising the Christmas message that children everywhere need our love and help.
Straying a little away from greetings cards the Save the Children organisers have also issued gift tags, which are among the best I've seen any where, and two calendars, including a Children's Advent Calendar, which is packed with fascinating discoveries.
The Mother Teresa Committee who have been raising funds to provide soup kitchens in India's fight against famine have released two simple almost child-like covers of Mary and Child. The pen and ink drawing was my favourite. In Spastics Society's workshops thrcughout the country handicapped people (some of them spierely) have been working for months to produce a selection of cards, beautifully designed and in their simplicity often achieving a remarkable three dimensional effect.
The range includes reproductions of Old Masters and modern impressionistic designs catering for the widest possible tastes.
The Red Cross Sooiety has, as usual, come up with a selection difficult to fault except perhaps with the reproduction of Murillo's "Madonna and Child." Colour depth is missing and, for me at any rate, the selection would have been better without it. However, the rest of the pack more than makes up and again it's the more simple designs which emerge winners.
With the Biafran crisis still very much in mind and the news that at least £2,000,000 is needed if the Red Cross relief is to remain effective, the cards will at least, with your help, put a wedge in the door. This year for the first time the Catholic Prisoners' Social Service is launching a card campaign. A reproduction of "The Adoration of the Magi"
gives no cause for criticism as its deep colours have reproduced well. A second card, entitled simply, "Boy with Lamb," is a delightful study.
Carisbrooke Priory Press run by the Dominican nuns at St.
Dominic's Priory, Isle of Wight, has to support itself by some commercial activity. The 19 nuns in the enclosed order there have all contributed to the priory's success.
The nuns have 30 original designs on sale this year, two of which were submitted by South African Carmelites and one of these—a lino-cut of the Holy Family—I found very striking.
Full details of cards available (no illustrations) can be
obtained by sending a stamped
addressed envelope (preferably 9in. x 4in.) to: List, Charity Christmas Card Committee, 74 Denison House, Vauxhall Bridge Road, S.W.1.