Valentine's Cards 200 years of saying ‘I Love You’

Posted by Karen McCluskey on



Are you looking for a Valentine’s card that will express the true depth of your love? You’re in the right place! Our imaginative and varied collection of top quality cards will leave you spoilt for choice. You’ll find cards for your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband or simply someone special to whom you want to say 'I love you'. Here’s where you’ll find just the right card Valentine’s Card


Valentine’s Day Cards – the beginning

Lovers began giving and receiving Valentine’s cards way back in the 18th century. Imagine yourself in the 1780s or 90s, wanting to impress your lover. You’d have made your Valentine’s Card for your true love by hand. You’d have decorated it with coloured paper and romantic symbols, including flowers and love knots. You’d have included puzzles and lines of poetry. You would then have slipped your card secretly under a door or tied it to a door-knocker.


The oldest known surviving example dates from 1797. Decorated with flowers and images of Cupid, it’s printed with these words around the border –


Since on this ever Happy day

All Nature’s full of Love and Play

Yet harmless still if my design
‘Tis but to be your Valentine’s.


Victorian Valentine’s

By the mid-1820s, with mass printing now possible, some 200,000 Valentine’s cards were sent and received in London alone. Many Victorian Valentine’s cards survive. The Museum of London holds over 1,700. Cards often featured elaborate paper lacework, embossing and other intricate designs. The more expensive the card, the more elaborate the design would be, making it clear how much your lover had spent on a card! Typical imagery included flowers, love knots and Cupid. It was years before those ubiquitous red hearts started to appear.


Not all Victorian Valentine’s cards were romantic. The less loved-up were able to buy ‘Vinegar Valentine’s – cards designed to insult. These cards typically lampooned a man’s profession or a woman’s appearance. One surviving example features a cartoon of a woman with a large nose. Under the title ‘Miss Nosey’ is written -

On account of your talk of others’ affairs

At most dances you sit warming the chairs.

Because of the care with which you attend

To all others’ business you haven’t a friend.


Sometimes men sent such cards to their male friends in order to mock them, with examples featuring taunts about baldness and alcoholism!


Other Victorian cards were much more fun, for example –


For the New Woman!
With St Valentine’s Heartiest Greetings and Best Hopes that she will receive another (moustache) – With A Man Attached.


Celebrate love!

Amongst the Ash & Dove Valentine’s Collection, you won’t find any verses like the above!

But we do believe love is well worth celebrating - with imagination and tenderness. This Valentine’s Day, why not show the one you care for most how much they mean to you? Send your sweetheart a Valentine’s Day card to fill them with joy. Let them know what it’s like to be truly loved!


 With Love & Light Karen xoxo



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