The Middle Ages are also oft referred to as the Age of Chivalry, and with chivalry came romance. The first written valentines came from the quill of Charles, Duke of Orleans, who, in 1415, whiled away the dull hours of imprisonment in the Tower of London by writing romantic verses for his wife over in France. In the following century, men often bestowed love poems and romantic ramblings on their ladies in place of valentine gifts. Flowers entered into the picture in the early 1700s, thanks to Sweden’s Charles II, who introduced Europeans to the Persian language of flowers. By Victorian times, affordable postage increased the popularity of valentines, many of which were still handmade. Since it was considered ‘improper’ for a Victorian female to give a valentine to a male she admired, the makers were men, the less artistic of whom doubtless welcomed the commercial production of valentines that started around 1850.
* And now, moving completely off-topic: Watch for a dual Time Cross-Over post tomorrow between this blog and Marva Dasef’s Cellophane Queen blog.