This snowman brooch is probably American, there are no marks so I cannot be totally sure.  It is a fairly large brooch measuring 9cm (4”) high.  I like the small details in this brooch, the icicles dangling down from his arms and the red ribbon picked out on his hat.

As a child I remember making snowmen in the garden in the winter, I have to say none of mine wore a top hat. But they did have a carrot for a nose, lumps of coal for eyes and buttons and one of my father’s old scarves.

Early documentation relating to snowmen is hard to find.  In Bob Eckstein’s book ‘The History of the Snowman’ he claims snowmen go back as far as the Middle Ages.  He bases his assertion on his research of artistic depictions in museums, art galleries and libraries.  The earliest documentation he found was a marginal illustration from 1380.  I’m not personally convinced the image is a snowman.

1380 Book of Hours, at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague

The earliest known photograph of a snowman was taken in 1853 by Welsh photographer Mary Dillwyn.  On the bottom righthand corner of the photograph there is a notation, “The snowman No. 2”, so presumably there was a No. 1 and maybe more, who knows.  Mary Dillwyn (1816–1906) was one of the earliest female photographers in Wales.  She took photographs of flowers, animals, family and friends and her photographs provide a rare insight into the domestic lives of women and children in 19th century Britain.

Mary Dillwyn photograph of Snowman from the National Library of Wales

The world’s largest snowman, actual a snowwoman, was made in 2008,  in Bethel, Maine, standing 122 feet and 1 inch (37.21 m) high.  She was named Olympia Snowe after the then state’s senator.

On 26th December 1982 the animated film The Snowman,  based on Raymond Briggs 1978 book was first broadcast.  The main theme lyric ‘Walking in the Snow’ was sung by Peter Robert Auty a choirboy at St Paul’s Cathedral in the original film.  In 1985 the song was rerecorded for a Toys “R” Us advert but Peter Auty’s voice had broken so Aled Jones was chosen instead, and the song became a hit single.  Many people assumed that Jones was the singer in the version used in the film.  YouTube link to original 1982 The Snowman 1982


Wishing you a very Happy Christmas.  I hope somewhere someone will be having fun making a snowman or snowwoman – large or small.

Brooch of the Month - December 2021