Happy Valentines Day !
Today we feature antique cards
celebrating the holiday of love.
These first two Valentines were
created by the very talented
Frances was already a well known
book illustrator when she started
designing holiday cards in the 1880’s.
Always quite a busy artist,
she was in high demand–
and her work was extremely popular.
She illustrated books by Louisa May Alcott,
and Robert Louis Stevenson,
— as well as having done work
in paper dolls, calendars, Christmas cards etc.
Very expressive faces,
and a subtle sense of humor
are hallmarks of her work,
and her Valentines are
considered to be especially collectible.
She was one of the leading
illustrators of her time.
full of innocence and children,
made for irresistible Valentines.
On the right, one of the more
charming Valentines from
the creator of the iconic
Buster Brown character.
Richard F. Outcault.
Buster originally had his
own cartoon strip in the New York Journal —
and since the Journal was
owned by Randolph Hearst,
the strip ran in all his other papers too–
— and in many affiliated and
syndicated newspapers around the United States.
The majority of his Valentines featured Buster,
— but there were plenty of
very popular exceptions, like this one.
Outcault would often exaggerate the fashion of the day —
— using oversized ribbons and such —
Dogs were also a favorite character
in Outcault Valentines.
The implications of our next card
would be pretty obvious to the man
or woman who received such a Valentine.
But, what interests collectors
more these days, is who created it:
Charles Twelvetrees was a
rather mysterious figure in
the history of postcard art.
He was a prolific artist,
who did most of his best work
between 1920 and 1930.
He did magazine cover art for:
F.W. Woolworth’s “The Home Magazine”
and the “Mohawk Magazine”,
Twelvetrees is said to
have died around 1939.
There are hundreds of individual pieces
done by him,
on postcards, calendars, puzzles,
and of course, Valentines Day cards,
— but yet, background information
on the creator is sketchy at best.
One of the most popular Valentines themes
with early 1900’s consumers featured
a form of mythical creatures,
not unlike fairies, called ‘Kewpies’.
Another type of character originally
designed for a cartoon strip
for newspaper syndication,
Kewpies were a creation of
Missouri native Rose O’Neill,
…. who, by the
advent of World War I,
had become the highest paid
female illustrator in the country,
due in no small part to these
little cherubic creatures.
The Kewpie was the rage of the 1910’s —
— dolls, paper cutouts, cartoons,
advertising, even food products
all used the ‘Kewpie’ style.
and so much so,
that even today,
‘Kewpie’ dolls are still being manufactured,
and a brand of Japanese
mayonnaise uses the name
and image under license.
What a long, strange trip
it’s been, huh ?