The smooth paper is folded into a quarto booklet -- the recto has a fine double border, printed by continuous cuts of wood engraving, in one line each of blue and gold. Within the border is a banner with a bouquet atop, and garlands of flowers draped from each side. The name, Emma, has been penned beneath the banner. In the center, a hand-colored wood engraving of a man, presumably proposing on bended knee, before a woman in bridal attire, has been carefully cut and pasted. Concentric circles, 3 cm. widest diameter, have been carefully cut into the central area, and a fine thread attached to the center. When the thread is gently lifted, the cutwork rises, and reveals the image of a man and woman reading a letter; she is seated, he is looking over her shoulder. This has the characteristics to be American in origin.
The Cobweb, also known as Beehive, Bird cage, and Flower cage, was a popular moveable, mechanical device where a top layer is cut into concentric circles, which may be lifted by a thread to reveal an interior, secret image.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Recto, script at top beneath the banner : "Emma" Verso, script "Valentine 2/14 - 1847"
"While this pulse with life is throbbing/ Shall this heart be true to thee,/ Foes may frown, and friends forsake us,/ Thou art all the world to me."
Mrs. Richard Riddell; Donor: Mrs. Richard Riddell
Ruth Webb Lee A History of Valentines. Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, 1952.