Lithograph, watercolor on openwork cameo-embossed paper
Sheet: 9 3/8 × 7 1/2 in. (23.8 × 19 cm)
Ephemera, Prints, Ornament & Architecture
Gift of Mrs. Richard Riddell, 1981
Not on view
Quarto, recto only, embossing of makers’ name is not seen, but the paper is attributed to BURKE. The frame border is openwork, cameo-embossed lace paper. The single sheet has damage to three corners.
See 1981.1136.533 for a similar applied image, same watermark, and similar workmanship.
A central hand-colored lithograph is an applied image of a romantic Venetian scene -- a romantic gondola - doves perched atop -- is drawn across the canal by a cherub and a dolphin -- while a Cupid holding Hymen's torch -- symbolic of matrimony, stands on the deck. A bridge and a cathedral complete the picture.
Poetry is lithographed above and below the central picture, and clusters of blossoms have been hand-colored: pansies and convolvulus above, and roses and forget-me-nots below.
The center of the applied image has been hand-cut into a RARE DOUBLE COBWEB -- the outer one at 7.5 mm diameter, and within it, another, smaller one at approximately 4 mm. Within the cobweb is a colored lithograph of a gentleman helping a lady disembark from a boat, and being guided by Cupid to the Altar of Love, while another flies above, carrying Hymen's flaming torch. The cobweb is also referred to as a beehive, a birdcage, and a flower cage. It was a popular device in which to carry a secret message or even a love token or ring. When a fine thread is gently pulled, the concentric circles of the cut device rise into a mound, and an interior image may be viewed from the side view. This may also be called a mechanical or movable Valentine.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: "If from the pangs of loves disease you pine/ And need the succour of 'love's medicine'/
And if for me these pangs of love you feel/ As I for you -- and as I thus reveal,/
Behold that heart which cupid bears above,/ Take it fair maid its healing virtues prove./
And in return my fairest Valentine,/ A cure for me I pray you send me thine."
Marking: Watermark: WOODHULL
In pencil, verso Schatzki, 1959 $20. (a shop in NYC)
Mrs. Richard Riddell; Donor: Mrs. Richard Riddell
Ruth Webb Lee A History of Valentines. Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, 1952, fig. no. 145, p. 175.
Frank Staff The Valentines & its Origins. 1969, fig. no. 95, p. 75.