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Valentine card


Rock & Co.; publisher; British printer and publisher specialising in topographical, steel-engraved prints on pictorial note paper, fancy stationery, books and booklets, maps and playing cards. Also manufacturer of valentines circa 1840s-60s. William Frederick Rock's business developed through various formulations: De La Rue, Rock & Co., 1821-1833; William & Henry Rock, 1833-1843; Rock Brothers & Payne, 1844-1883. The Rock & Co. stamp found on valentines and elsewhere was probably used for the first two formulations of the company and can probably be dated circa 1830-circa 1840.


print; album


Valentine card






19th century


A 4to-sized sheet of white wove paper decorated on the recto with three, hand-coloured lithographed scenes inside octagonal frames. The scenes are labelled, from left to right; "Faith" (a woman sitting at a writing desk hands a letter to a white dove which flies with it through an open window); "Hope" (the woman, holding an anchor, watches from a rock in the ocean as a heart on wings flies towards a distant ship) ; "Charity" (a man proposes to the woman on bended knee as she stands in a garden arbour, holding a heart in her right hand. A church is visible in the background). A two-line narrative is printed below each: "Go gentle doves / To one I love"; "On Hope Prest / Till by thee blest" / "All that I own / Is thine alone". A further verse entitled "The Lover's Virtues" is printed below: "And now abideth the dear virtues three / Confiding Faith and Hope and Charity: ... Send but a sweet reply & I am thine / My constant love, my happy Valentine." Printed at lower left of third octagonal scene: "Rock & P. London" [probably Rock Brothers & Payne,1844-1883]. A hand-written inscription in black ink at the lower right corner: "Mary H Tate". A further inscription on the right-hand inside page at the upper right corner, written in black ink: "For Fanny Tate from Mary". The verso of this page bears the name and address of the recipient: "Mrs F.B. Tate / 4 Belvoir Terrace / Scarbro' "; a one penny stamp and a postmark with date and posting location: "LIVE[RPOO]L / FE 9 / 1845 / F". There is a remnant of red sealing wax on the left edge. Although envelopes or 'paper pockets' were in use by 1845, following the establishment of the Penny Post in 1840, the large 4to-size of this valentine meant that it was folded into a smaller size and fastened by means of sealing wax. This was common practice pre-1840 and before the sizes of valentines began to be reduced. This Valentine appears to have been sent between either sisters or sisters-in-law.


hand colouring


bequeathed; 1928; Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr

Acquisition Credit:

Bequeathed by Dr J. W. L. Glaisher, 1928


The Object of My Affection: Stories of Love from the Fitzwilliam Collection. 2018-01-30 - 2018-05-28
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum


Object Number: P.14346-R-56
(Paintings, Drawings and Prints)
(record id: 214442; input: 2017-02-03; modified: 2018-03-27)


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