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London, England

c. 1850


11-7/8 in x 9-7/8 in x 5/8 in, picture, 10 in x 8 in


Watercolor and gouache (?) on embossed paper

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation

Accession Number



“It is not much the void / can give, / And gold or gems are not / the thing / With all its subtle art / To satisfy the heart.” is written across an open book pictured in the center.  “M J Hort Valentine” is written across the top of a John Wanamaker framine label, and “Mary E. Robeson / Valentine, 1850” is written across the bottom.

Condition Notes

The valentine exhibits some darkening from exposure to light.


Ex coll. Margaret Janvier Hort.  See "Comments" below.


This elaborately embossed valentine has an open book in a bed of yellow and blue flowers with green leaves.  A small image of a white lyre screen on a stand amid a spray of slender green leaves is at the top, and a plinth with a heart on the front side and a single heart atop it is at the bottom.  The lyre and the hearts on the plinth are embossed and painted, indicating that the decoration was likely executed when the valentine was embossed, and not at a later date.

The names written on the printed “Fine Art Pictures / and Framing / John Wanamaker / Philadelphia / PARIS  NEW YORK  LONDON” label (1-3/4 in x 1-5/8 in) torn off black backing paper record the provenance of this valentine.  Mary Elizabeth Robeson (1832-1920), the likely original owner, was the wife of John Whilldin Janvier, a son of George Washington Janvier and grandson of Odessa cabinetmaker John Janvier.  Margaret Janvier Hort (1899-1981) collected Janvier-family papers and artifacts.  She appears to have acquired this valentine at a 1952 auction of Mary's estate.

For related pictures, see accession nos. 1975.27 and 1975.28.  The latter is on embossed paper bearing the name of London embosser "DOBBS."