Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Greetings

Being Valentine's Day I thought I would pick some of my favourite Valentine's Cards from the collection to entertain - and perhaps inspire a romantic atmosphere! 

The oldest Valentines Card that survives dates from around 1400 and can be found at the British Museum. Ours are not quite as old as that mainly dating from the 19th and 20th Centuries. 

St. Valentines Day has been celebrated for centuries, dedicated to Christian martyrs (14 in total) named Valentinus and was first established in Rome by Pope Gelasius I in 496AD being celebrated on the 14th February. The day became associated with romantic and courtly love in Geoffrey Chaucers time and lovers would express their love by presenting flower, giving confectionery and giving papers with Valentine greetings. The 'Valentines' have changed in design and style over the centuries, but their purpose is much the same despite mass production these days. I hope you enjoy the selection below, as well as the rhymes that accompany them.

Printed, 19th Century Valentine, BEDFM 2001.120.1
" The meaning of these lines you'll guess,
And easily divine,
that you of all my other friends,
I choose as Valentine".

Hand decorated, printed, 19th Century Valentine of
Town Crier declaring a lost love, BEDFM 2001.120.5
"O Yes! O Yes!!
This is to give notice
LOST! A Heart in
this neighbourhood any
person having found the
same by giving information
will be rewarded with the 
owners sincere love & a
comfortable home for life
God save my dear Sweetheart!" 

Printed, 19th Century Valentine, BEDFM 2001.120.3 
The Valentine above and the one below reminds me of Bedford bridge and the embankment. 

"This Valentine to thee I send
to prove my love my dearest friend"

Lydia Saul
Keeper of Social History

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