Saturday, 8 February 2014
Valentines in History
As it is the month of Valentines we thought we would share with you some of the love themed objects from our Harrison Collection.
Pin Cushion - 1830s
A layered pin cushion, patterned with rose, shamrock and thistle designs.
It also has the words “May God Protect, Thy Mother Dear, And Thou Sweet Babe, Art Welcome Here”.
It was custom to put together a layette (a set of clothes and gifts for a newborn baby) with gifts like decorated pin cushions with patterns and verses.
Stay Busk - 1810s
Made of scrimshore or whale bone.
This stay busk has the drawing of a lady on a horse and a peeping tom; with an eye on top and the words ‘love to the’ heart.
These were carved by young men for girls as a love token. This one is believed to have been made by a sailor for his girlfriend. The stay busks or corset stay would be inserted in to the corset to give support.
Love Spoon - Mid 19th Century
A Welsh love spoon with carved motives of the heart, tears (to represent the soul,) and circles.
Parents would get the young male suitor to carve a love spoon to keep his hands busy.
Love Token - 1850’s
It is a knitting stick with a chain. It shows great skill of the carver as it has been made from one piece of wood. The hole would allow you to attach it to a belt and would also hold a kitting needle, so that the
knitter could use one hand or three needles.
This would have been given as a love token.
Knitting Sheath – 1686
Made of carved fruit wood, with the date 1686 carved into it.
This would have been given as a love token. It was used to attach to a belt and to hold a knitting needle so that the knitter could use one hand or three needles.
Only about ten similar knitting sheaths have survived from that period.
Rude Valentine - 19th Century
A valentine for the hated Victorian. This valentine shows a spider character with a verse which begins “like a wicked old spider...”.
Edward bought a lot of valentines in a batch in Hull.
“Rude” cards were also common in Victorian England.
Pincushion – 19th Century
This pincushion has the following words sewn into it: “Emblem of love from the retreat near York”. The retreat was an early mental hospital. Maybe this was made as a craft item and sold as a gift.
Stay Busk – Late 18th Century
Made of carved mahogany. It is decorated with tulips ‘two lips’, and hearts.
These were carved by young men for girls as a love token. This one is believed to have been made by a sailor for his girlfriend.
The stay busk or corset stay would be inserted in to the corset to give support.
Comb – Late 15th to Early 16th Century
Made of carved boxwood with ivory panels and silk. Made in France, the decorative carvings include an arm with an arrow piercing a heat.
This would have been given as a love token. The comb was made with a saw called a stadder with two blades, one to cut and one to mark the next whole that needed to be cut.