Posted on Leave a comment

Fresh stock – it’s almost Valentines Day!

Welcome to our latest Fresh Stock Release. This coming week brings Valentines Day, and we start things with a fantastic early Victorian example of a fancy ‘Valentines Day Card’.

SPRAGG Victorian Valentines Day Card, c.1860
SPRAGG Victorian Valentines Day Card, c.1860

Victorian Valentines Day cards were sent anonymously and often carried no message to the recipient. They had emerged as a trend in the earliest Victorian period, and grew in popularity as the century advanced. Technology led to elaborate mass production utilising die cut embossed ‘paper lacework’, as seen in this example, and chromolithography printing allowing multiple bright colours. The ‘Penny Post’ introduction in the 1840’s was the crucial component in the rise of the printed cards, allowing an admirer anywhere to send a cord to someone. Records for cards sent for Valentines Day 1841 show 400,000 within the English postal service – and this number increased constantly every year. The poor postmen were given an extra allowance ‘for refreshments, to help them keep up their energy’ while doing cupid’s work! 

This remarkable large piece of English Majolica is the ultimate pottery rarity. It’s a Punch punchbowl – the figure balancing it on his belly is the character so familiar to Victorians as the character of the ‘Punch’ satyrical magazine. The bowl itself is like a giant orange, and the moulded holly around the edge reveals the intended usage for the bowl: Yuletide Cheer, sitting in the middle of a lavish Christmas table.

It was created by George Jones, famous for his quirky products. It bears the diamond registration mark for 1873, as well as the ‘GJ’ impressed initials of the proprietor. This is interesting, as 1873 is also the year George Jones included his sons in the business, changing the mark to ‘GJ & Sons’. This bowl must have been made in the initial part of 1873, before the change of the mark was implemented. It’s rare we can date something so precisely…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *