Novelty Valentine's card, 1881-1900
ID no. 34.170/1073
At this time of year London stationers put on enormous, impressive displays of Valentine's cards in their shop windows. London’s stationers experimented with thousands of ideas for cards, both for domestic sale and for export to the USA and the British Empire. The relentless search for novelty led to some really unusual designs, like this roller-skating cupid.
The message reads: "Ere CUPID wore the nimble wheel, Which supersedes the glittering steel, Yet scarcely proves so safe a keel, And went a-RINKING He launched a dart and wounded me, My sweet, the bolt was tipped with thee, And so I met it lovingly, Without once SHRINKING."
By the late nineteenth century, when this card was made, roller skating was a big craze in London. ‘Rinkomania’ struck the capital, and roller rinks opened around London. Skates were advertised for children and adults, and the roller rinks were a new opportunity for men and women to socialize. Perhaps this card was for designed to be bought by those skated head-over-heels in love.