A Brief History Of (Charming And Mean) Valentine's Cards
A Brief History Of (Charming And Mean) Valentine's Cards
From floral bouquets and scented hearts, to casual insults and a pig in human clothes – marvel at the sweet (and sometimes quite mean!) Valentine's cards in the V&A's collection.

Join Curator Zorian Clayton as he shows us a selection of delightful cards from our Prints collection. As cards were a new phenomena in the 19th century, people went wild for the opportunity to show a special someone that they were fond of them.

Ranging from one penny to three guineas (£250 in today's money), take a look at intricate mechanical cards, delicate paper cages, ceramic hearts and ruder 'vinegar valentines' sent between friends – and find out whether the language of love really has changed very much since the Victorian era. 

  • 00:00 The origins of Valentine's Day
  • 02.00 Oldest cards
  • 04:13 Novelty designs
  • 06:24 Mechanical cards
  • 08:50 Vinegar Valentines
  • 10:57 The language of flowers (floriography)
  • 13:40 Contemporary ceramic and mosaic Valentines

See objects for yourself in their Prints and Drawings Study Room

Find out more in their Print collection

Author, educator, musician, dancer and all around creative type. Founder of "The Happy Now" website and the online jewelry store "Silver and Sage".

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