Description of Some English Valentines of 1875 | The Language of Flowers


About the fourteenth of this month the postman will become even a more important personage than he always is, and Young Englishwomen’s bright eyes and pink cheeks will grow brighter and pinker when the well known knock is heard.

I am now going to describe some of the pretty valentines that will be brought to their door on or about that date, laying no claim, however, to the title of prophetess, but acknowledging that I have seen all the charming productions I am about to describe, at Mr. Rimmel’s establishment at 96, Strand.

The series of cards entitled “The Language of Flowers” is among the prettiest of the novelties. Cupid is represented in a medallion in the corner, sitting in a business-like manner at a desk. The little god is mending a pen, and a dove is bearing to him an official looking letter which is not supposed to contain much that is official. Flower-wreaths are painted above and around him, and an appropriate quotation from a classical author occupies a portion of the card, which has a gold background.

The “Open Sesame” card will be sure to please children. You pull a string and the two lower cards curve outwards, giving a view of a fountain playing in the distance, and a young gentleman bearing a bunch of flowers in the foreground.

The cards called “The Four Stages of Love” are very ingenious, while the spray of flowers on the outside is one of the prettiest of Monsieur Rimmel’s flower-strewn pages.

There are also Japanese valentines, to meet the general demand for Japanese styles in everything. The colouring of these is very effective, and some of the designs most original and bizarre.

If we are to believe novelists, gentlemen sometimes find great difficulty in making a proposal of marriage gracefully. We all remember Anthony Trollope’s hero, who asked the lady of his heart, Mary Thorne, to marry him, in these terms: “Will you? Won’t you? Do you? Don’t you?”

Those to whom words do not come readily in situations like these could not adopt a more graceful means of asking the momentous question than by sending Monsieur Rimmel’s “Holly Hymen” valentine to the object of their regard; and at the same time they would be evidencing their good taste, for it is among the most artistic of the many chef d’oeuvres I saw.

The delicate sprays of foliage and berries that surround the page are painted on a bluish-grey ground, and contain the same tints as those seen in the I  (?) and berries that drape the central figure. Among the more elaborate valentines are some, the flowers in which are entirely formed of Brazilian feathers. The effect of these is exquisitely soft.

Others contain parures of turquoise, Spa wood, Bohemian garnets, silver filagree, gold rings, garnet rings, scent-bottles, gentlemen’s cravats, and glove sachets, for those who like to send something useful as well as sentimental.

More expensive than these are beautiful little satin boxes, from which, on touching a spring, issue the silvery sounds of a musical box. Among the smaller varieties, I ought to have mentioned the series called the ” Heraldry of the Heart,” on which is represented a shield in two shades of colour, with a delicately painted flower on the shield; and also the little scarlet post pillar with a little Cupid inside.

I hope all our readers may receive as many of these pretty things as they would like to get, during the month.

Source: The Young Englishwoman, 1875

Index: Valentine’s Day Throughout History

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