T e a c h e r  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Expressions of Love

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CHIN, Ottawa, Ontario

Will you be my Valentine?
This lesson is designed to be a fun and engaging way to celebrate Valentine's Day. It is an exploration into the history and development of the Valentine's Day card. First, a look into early examples of Valentine's greetings is provided, followed by its transformation into a mass-produced item for the general public. This lesson focuses primarily on the design and production of Valentine's Day greetings and how different factors have and continue to affect its use in Western society.

The lesson should cover roughly 1 class period and should be supported by any additional class references (textbooks, teacher notes, etc...). It can be used in a primary school setting, but its intended audience is that of a secondary school setting. Specifically, this lesson would best suit courses in Technical Design, Visual Arts, and Communications Technology.

Enjoy!
History of St. Valentine
If you would like some information on St. Valentine and his legacy, please click on the following link. It is a brief but informative collection of interesting facts about the life of this iconic saint.
Presence of the Past
Culture is like an onion, layer growing upon layer.
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Learning Object Collection: Presence of the Past
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Valentine's Day Greetings
The following is a collection of information and examples of different Valentine's Day greetings over the last 500 years. Its focus is mainly on Western traditions and it's relevance to Canadian culture is still apparent. You may wish to focus on issues of design and consumerism. Who are the intended audiences? How have expressions of love changed across time? How does the design of the card promote its message? The emphasis is to analyze how each example represents the theme of love and to compare and contrast them as a group, all in the context of art and design.
Introduction
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Royal Valentines of the Tudor House
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
First Valentine “Card”?
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Miscellaneous Papers of Samuel Pepys



Engraving from a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646–1754) in volume 1 of J.R. Tanner, ed., Private Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Samuel Pepys, 1679–1703 (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1926).

Photo Credit: Provincial Museum of Alberta




© Provincial Museum of Alberta.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Introduction
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Victorian and Edwardian Collections
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Victorian Valentine
Victorian Valentine
“My love for thee I never will disown” Valentine and Envelope



A hand-tinted card with an embossed envelope has paper scrap figures surrounded by an embossed wreath of pastel flowers. As with many Valentine greetings of this era, no handwritten signature or message is inscribed. Possibly a love letter was enclosed.

Photo Credit: Doon Heritage Crossroads

9.7 x 14.5 cm
970.027.004-.005

© Doon Heritage Crossroads.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Edwardian Valentine
Edwardian Valentine
Valentine Greetings Postcard



Feathers, ribbons, roses, lilies-of-the-valley, love's arrow, a red heart and a beautiful girl: the symbolism of courtly love is expressed in this colourful postcard.

Photo Credit: Doon Heritage Crossroads

14 x 8.7 cm
X.964.781.1.

© Doon Heritage Crossroads.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Twentieth-Century Collection
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Twentieth-Century Valentine
Twentieth-Century Valentine
Postcard Showing “Two Ice Cream Spoons”



“Spooning” was slang for caressing and kissing until the early 20th century. This may have developed from an 18th century use of “spoon” to mean a silly person. By the early 19th century, people in love were said to be “spoons” about each other. Later, “spooning” came to mean “courting, especially in an excessively sentimental or effusive fashion.”

Fanshawe Pioneer Village.

14 x 8.8 cm
x2002.91.7

© Fanshawe Pioneer Village.
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Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Introduction
CHIN
© 2004, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Gallery of Greetings
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Love's Greeting Pop-up Valentine
Use your cursor to rotate and discover the object.

This Edwardian-era card expresses the vocabulary of Valentine sentiment. A robin perched on Cupid's bow, a beribboned heart, roses, and a pretty child framed by a heart-shaped wreath of forget-me-nots accompany a feminized Cupid. Pastel colours suggest that this is for a child.

971.026.011.8.

9 x 13 x 20,8 cm.
Raphael Tuck
© Doon Heritage Crossroads.
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Learning Object: Gallery of Greetings
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Love reading Cupid's Hieroglyphic message
The greeting card represents love, symbolized by a woman reading a message engraved on a tree trunk by Cupid.

Silver print on cardboard.

2001.458.2.

9 x 18 cm.
Photo Credit: Maison Saint-Gabriel
© Maison Saint-Gabriel.
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Learning Object: Gallery of Greetings
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Doors of the Garden
Use your cursor to rotate and discover the object.

What makes this card special is the way it has been assembled. It is maintained by elastics that fold forward when it is opened.

Late 19th–early 20th century. 3-D pop-up, mechanical, cutout, embossed, colour printing, gold leaf.

2003.14.

12.7 x 8.2 x 11.6 cm
Photo Credit: Synthescape, Inc.
© Musée Colby-Curtis-Société historique de Stanstead.
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Learning Object: Gallery of Greetings
Institution: RCIP-CHIN
Suggested Activity
After examining all the different types of Valentine's Day greetings, give your students the opportunity to create their own greetings. They should focus on the questions discussed in this lesson when explaining their design. For example, who is the intended audience? Why did you choose certain images and text?

One idea would be to create small groups and initiate a jigsaw activity. In this case, one small group would focus on creating greetings appropriate to a specific time period. Once the groups have discussed features that would be important in their greetings, each student would create an example and join people of other groups to share their work. The greetings could then be presented to the class as a whole and displayed around the classroom!

Here's an idea! Check out the website http://bomomo.com/. This is a free online program that allows you to play around with a variety of painting techniques. After allowing your students to discover its features, have them create their own Valentine's Day greetings. Note that this is not a traditional painting program; the tools create some beautifully modern and abstract designs. Once they have finished their design, have your students explain what the design means and why they chose to include certain features and styles. Challenge them to make the connections between their designs and the ones seen in this lesson.
Expressions of Love on a Larger Scale
If you have time, you could relate Valentine's Day greetings with examples of larger expressions of love. The following files provide information on the Taj Mahal and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Both are examples of how people have loved others so much as to have manifested it through wondrous feats of creation. Again, many of the themes and questions discussed so far can be applied here too: how has design influenced the work, what messages are being conveyed, and so on. You can end the class with an informal discussion on how, if resources were limitless, students would express their love to someone and why.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
- interpret how factors affect people's expressions of love
- analyze different types of Valentine's Day card designs from different time periods
- express ideas of love through visual media
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