A Flowering of Affection: Victorian Valentine Cards at the Lilly Library  
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Not-so-sweet Valentines

Over the next thirty years, Valentine cards were made in great numbers and variety. The quality of the cards was as variable as the themes they represented. Though the dominant theme for Valentines would always be love, comic and even insulting Valentines were also common.

On the left is a valentine that is both comic and somewhat insulting in its rejection of the suitor. Below is a comic card with a gentler theme, mocking fashions of the day. A tab at the bottom of this card, when pulled, moves the young woman's skirt up slightly, revealing the "scarlet petticoats that are all the rage". To see the full verse, click on the image.

Next: Silks, satins and feathers

Victorian Valentine Cards Home

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