Vintage Valentines… Always Classic, Always New
FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes
Was the first valentine sent by St. Valentine in the 5th Century, or by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1375 when he wrote a poem about love and linking it to St. Valentine and refers to February 14th or perhaps the oldest known surviving valentine, housed in London’s British Library, a 1415 poem, in French, by the Duke of Orleans to his wife. The oldest valentine sent by a woman, Margery Brews, also in the British Library, was sent in 1477. Or is the popularity of Valentine’s Day a “made up” Hallmark holiday (the first Hallmark valentine card was produced in 1913), I say “fake news”! In my humble opinion, the early dates suggest that love writings have been with us throughout history and will continue as long as romance continues…I am a major romantic after all!
From Shakespeare’s Hamlet…spoken by the tragic Ophelia “To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine.”
In today’s post I will concentrate on collectible Victorian Valentines with a few modern versions thrown in for good measure. Yet another collection for each of us to consider when visiting the always intriguing Randolph Street Market, where you can also find fabulous ephemeral materials to make your own
By the mid 1820s, some 200,000 Valentines were circulated in London, by the late 1840s the number of cards being sent doubled, and doubled again in the next two decades. Many of the cards were handmade and became quite elaborate with lace, paper lace, ribbons, hand-cut dies, etc. They were so layered they become almost three dimensional.
The collection of Jonathan King, housed in the Museum of London features 1,700 samples. Historian, Lucy Worsley visited this collection in her October 2015 BBC series A Very British Romance. The program features the most elaborate card in the collection, which was made by Jonathan King himself for the woman he loved.
Here a charming YouTube piece….enjoy.
Let’s take a look at some of these exquisite cards…
And a few decorating suggestions…
One of my most favorite days in grammar school was Valentine’s Day when our entire class exchanged valentines….and, even then, I wanted to get an extra special one from a certain little boy…sigh!!
Naturally a book on the subject.
All photos from Pinterest, no photo credits available, the exception the top photo from my collection, photo taken with my iPhone.
by Nena Ivon