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Cruel cards & loving lobsters: quirky Victorian Valentines

"An opportunity not to be lost. I ask you with all love sincere, if this Leap-year you'll have me Dear?" Those looking for romantic inspiration -- both whimsical and weird -- may enjoy lines like this found within Cruel cards & loving lobsters: quirky Victorian Valentines. This digital exhibition from the Museum of London explores Victorian courtship and the traditions of giving Valentines, featuring a curated collection of these cards. Users may want to begin at the link above, where they can read a 2017 blog post summarizing the historical context of valentines in London and see some highlights from the collection. These highlights provide insights on the range of valentines that were created -- from sweet to strange to "spiteful." From there, users can view the full collection by clicking on the "Collections Online" link at the bottom of the page, then selecting "See all related objects" on the left side of the linked page. This brings users to a compilation of thumbnail images of cards, which can be filtered by artist and place (e.g. Hackney). Clicking on thumbnail images that catch their eye allows users to retrieve records with information such as the card maker, date, location, and a description of the materials used to create the card. The cards offer a mixture of love and laughter, and with nearly 2,000 valentines archived, there's plenty to explore. If you enjoy this collection, you may want to view other collections offered on the Museum's website (which cover a range of topics, such as fashion and archeology).
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