One could go so far as to say the Victoria and Albert Museum was built on love, with the story of our very own Victoria and Albert. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were closely involved in the formation of the Museum at South Kensington that would eventually bear their name, and many of the early purchases made for the Museum find parallels in the works of art chosen by the Queen and Prince Albert.
The V&A collections include wedding dresses, wedding accessories and jewellery, wedding suits and bespoke wedding gifts from the Renaissance period to the present day. Scenes of tender feeling, symbols of unions and allegories of love can also be found in our collection of ephemera in the Prints and Drawings Study Room and the Ceramics galleries, in the form of Staffordshire pottery figures, loving cups and wedding chargers. Along with the traditional objects of devotion and love in our collection, which has provided inspiration for our range; we looked at other traditional gifts not represented in our collection that are regarded as important presents such as Welsh lovespoons.
The lovespoon dates back to the seventeenth century – the earliest known example dating from 1667 in Wales. Lovespoons were hand carved by a lady’s suitor and presented to his sweetheart to begin the formal process of courtship. The term ‘spooning’ therefore became another word for courting.
Originally a domestic implement that was simply embellished with initials and dates has evolved into elaborate and finely crafted pieces of art. The spoons took hours to carve from a single piece of wood and displayed intricate symbols of love. The spoons are now used as decorative craft items and hung on walls.
Our buyers have sourced lovespoons from Blodwen, a company committed to the preservation and revival of traditional rural skills and the promotion of artisans, as one of the traditional gifts in the V&A Shop’s Gift List. Blodwen have commissioned a selection of master wood turners around Cardigan Bay, Wales to create these traditional romantic gifts.
Blodwen believes in rewarding artisans for their skill in producing unique, hand-made, beautiful wares – heirloom purchases that are treasured forever and the V&A Shop believes in supporting and promoting regional craft.