Intricate Historic Valentines

I happened across an Aeon article earlier this month featuring a video by the Victoria and Albert Museum displaying and discussing Valentine’s Day. I thought folks might enjoy learning about this today.

Some of these cards are sweet, others are appropriately labeled “vinegar valentines” for their tart and sometimes nasty tone.

That said, the craftsmanship and intricacies of cuts that went into hand making these cards is entrancing. In one case the curator, Zorian Clayton, notes that they don’t use gloves when opening some of the cards because they are so fragile, you need the sensitivity of bare hands to be delicate enough.  He also shows off valentines made of ceramic.

At the 11:00 mark, Clayton discusses the secret meanings of flowers were attributed during the Victorian period.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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