A Flowering of Affection: Victorian Valentine Cards at the Lilly Library
Silks, satins and feathers
The design of Valentines also became more complex, even as the size of the cards diminished. Feathers, beads, bits of fabric, and other realia were used to decorate cards. Layers of mesh and lace-paper were layered over colored silks to show them to th e greatest effect. Portions of cards were moveable, revealing hidden messages of love and affection.
Flowers, seeds, and foliage fashioned from fabric decorate the card on the left, which bears the message "Flowers of Affection". Below are two more elaborate examples which also incorporate printed scraps. "Scraps" is the common term for small printed images, often embossed, that were put to a variety of uses in Victorian times. The scraps used here may have been purchased by individuals to create their own custom Valentine cards.