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Duncan Royale Santa III



 

 

Duncan Royale Knickerbocker


Item Sku: 12Knicker
One of the most important developments in the history of the American Santa was the publication of a work in 1809 entitled ‘A History of New. York From The Beginning Of The World To The End Of The Dutch Dynasty’. It was supposedly written by a Diedrich Knickerbocker. But actually this was the pen name used by the American author, Washington frying, who wrote such favorites as ‘Rip Van Winkle’ and ‘The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow’.

In this work Irving not only dealt in a humorous way about the Dutch in New York, or New Amsterdam as it was then called, but he also dealt with their love of St. Nicholas. However, Irving made a dramatic departure in his physical description of the saint. . . he changed the bishop’s robes to more traditional Flemish attire. And instead of the bishop’s hat or miter, there was a wide brimmed hat, hose and a long Dutch clay pipe. St. Nicholas had been transformed from a bishop into a Dutch gentleman.

At this time too, the Old Dutch name for St. Nicholas, ‘Sint Niklass’, popularly became ‘Sin tirklaas’, and then ‘Sante Klaas’.

Irving wrote about Santa Klaas flying about with a wagon and horse over the rooftops of New Amsterdam with his basket of toys “now and then drawing forth magnificent presents from his breeches pockets and dropping them down the chimneys of his favorites”.

Influenced by this new ‘Knickerbocker’ Santa, Dr. Clement Clarke Moore wrote his immortal poem ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas’ in 1822. But it wasn’t until 1848 that the poem was published in book form. Along with the poem, the book contained seven wood engravings by the artist T. C. Boyd, the very first representation of this new St. Nick. But the sketches that Boyd drew showed less bulk and less cheer than the elf in the poem. Actually his drawings were closer to the original ‘Knickerbocker’ Santa that Irving had written about thirty-nine years earlier. But this provided a gradual transition to the later drawings of Thomas Nast who put the finishing touches on the merry old soul we know today.
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