Love, Victorian Sentiment, prints, books
Charles West Cope, 'Hope Deferred', 1877. Museum no. 29325.4
Charles West Cope (1811-1890)
Etching with pencil
Museum no. 29325.4
In the original image lines from the poem 'Love' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge are etched beneath. Discarded gloves are complex but significant motifs in Victorian art, signifying absent-mindedness, compromised virtue or challenge.
Emily Farmer, 'In Doubt', 1881. Museum no. D.395-1905
Emily Farmer (1826-1905)
Museum no. D.395-1905
Bequeathed by the artist
In Doubt emphasises the gap between the power of a Victorian visual symbols and the subtlety of human emotion. She has a forget-me-not pinned to her breast, often worn to signify constancy and love, yet her downcast eyes betray her qualms. The veil may be a subtle reference to bridal wear.
John Brandard (1812-1863), 'A Delightful Waltz', about 1850-1860. Museum no. E.2468-1914
John Brandard (1812-1863)
'A Delightful Waltz'
Museum no. E.2468-1914
Given by H.C. Andrews
This music cover shows a woman overcome with pleasure at a dance. Fainting and palpitations were thought to be acceptable indications of an excess of female emotion.
George Cruikshank the Younger, 'St Valentine As It Ought To Be', about 1870. Museum no. E.284-1948
George Cruikshank the Younger (active about 1870)
'St Valentine As It Ought To Be'
Pen and ink
Museum nos. E.284-1948
Bequeathed by H.H. Harrod
These satirical allegories were probably intended for illustration. However, even 'St Valentine as it ought to be' appears to offer a tongue-in-cheek view of over-sentimental, idealised love. Together these drawings explore the boundaries between genuine feeling and financially driven emotion.