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The ornate, the aromatic, the cruel – Valentine’s cards before the age of Hallmark

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In this video from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the curator of prints Zorian Clayton provides a brief history of the origins of Valentine’s Day before digging into some treasured Valentine’s cards in the museum’s collection. Starting with an example from 1780 and ending with some notable designs from contemporary artists, Clayton traverses mechanically animated, ornately designed and even some quite mean-spirited examples. Through these objects, he demonstrates that, while fashions and formats have changed, the motifs and messages used to convey romantic love across the Anglos world have remained quite steady over the past several centuries.

Video by the Victoria and Albert Museum

Directors: Hannah Kingwell, Holly Hyams

5 February 2024
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