1163545; Private Collection;  out of copyright

The Twelve Days of Christmas

What are you getting your true love for Christmas? Here’s some gift idea inspiration from the classic Twelve Days of Christmas song:

1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree

    A Partridge in a Pear Tree (wood engraving), Sarah Van Nierkerk,  (b.1934) / Private Collection
A Partridge in a Pear Tree (wood engraving), Sarah Van Nierkerk, (b.1934) / Private Collection

2. Turtle Doves

 The Turtle Doves, early 20th century Valentine card / Private Collection
The Turtle Doves, early 20th century Valentine card / Private Collection

Turtle doves stay with their partner for a lifetime and hence symbolise true love and loyalty – the perfect gift for your significant other.

3. French Hens

Paris, Eiffiel Tower with Three French Hens, 2014 (oil on canvas/digital collage), Kimberley McSparran

Ooh la la! This image would look great on a postcard or cover of a notebook.

4. Calling Birds

Close-up of four goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) / Private Collection / De Agostini Picture Library
Close-up of four goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) / Private Collection / De Agostini Picture Library

What better way to wake up in the morning then to the delightful sound of birdsong? Perhaps receiving a gorgeous bird-print pillowcase would help to brighten up the day.

5. Golden Rings

Portrait of a Gentleman with a Lion Paw, by Lorenzo Lotto, 1525, 16th Century, oil on canvas, Lorenzo Lotto / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria / Mondadori Portfolio/Electa /
Portrait of a Gentleman with a Lion Paw, by Lorenzo Lotto, 1525, 16th Century, oil on canvas, Lorenzo Lotto / Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria / Mondadori Portfolio/Electa

If you like it then you should’ve put a ring on it…

6. Geese a Laying

 Six Geese A-Laying, Ditz (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection
Six Geese A-Laying, Ditz (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

7. Swans a Swimming

Swan Lake, Mariinsky Theatre, 1895 (b/w photo), Russian Photographer, (19th century) / Private Collection
Swan Lake, Mariinsky Theatre, 1895 (b/w photo), Russian Photographer, (19th century) / Private Collection

The winter season is always full of incredible events and shows, including the classic Swan Lake ballet. This famous performance was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of a princess transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse.

Although it is presented in numerous different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival (shown above), first staged for the Imperial Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

8. Maids a Milking

Manda Lametrie, The Farm Maid, 1887 (oil on canvas), Alfred  Roll (1846-1919) / Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France
Manda Lametrie, The Farm Maid, 1887 (oil on canvas), Alfred Roll (1846-1919) / Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

Pastoral scenes are key to helping you relax over the Christmas holiday.

9. Ladies Dancing

Dance / Bridgeman Footage
Dance / Bridgeman Footage

Check out our montage of the very best movers and shakers in the archive, from vintage jazz shows to break-dancing and everything in between.

10. Lords a Leaping

The First Leap: Lord Alexander Russell on his pony 'Emerald', 1829 (oil on millboard), Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-73) / © Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London
The First Leap: Lord Alexander Russell on his pony ‘Emerald’, 1829 (oil on millboard), Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-73) / © Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London

11. Pipers Piping

He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune, John  Hayes (fl.1897-1902) / Private Collection / Photo © Bonhams, London, UK
He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune, John Hayes (fl.1897-1902) / Private Collection / Photo © Bonhams, London, UK

12. Drummers Drumming

Janissaries and the parade musicians arriving, from 'Sur-Nama' (vellum), Turkish School, (16th century) / Private Collection
Janissaries and the parade musicians arriving, from ‘Sur-Nama’ (vellum), Turkish School, (16th century) / Private Collection

Drums may not be the best idea for that Boxing Day hangover, but an old exotic print could be music to the ears!

Find out More

Get in touch at uksales@bridgemanimages.com for more information on licensing and clearing copyright.

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