An 1816 Regency Anti-Valentine

I’m taking a break from packing (yuk!!) to share something fun.

Valentine’s Day is on its way with only 13 more days to go. The day means different things to different people and I know that, for various and assorted reasons, not everyone is a fan. What I didn’t know is cartoonists have been capturing and satirizing the essence of “love gone wrong” for a very long time.

I love this example from November 1816.

Here an elegantly dressed young woman wields a mallet as she attempts to drive an arrow into the stone heart of her beloved, which she has placed on the Altar of Sentiments. The bent and broken arrows littering the ground speak to his emotional impenetrability. They’re labeled “promises”, “love”, “humanity” and other desirable elements in which she finds obviously finds the man lacking. And, despite all the arrows and numerous swings of the mallet, she’s only managed to make a scratch.

“The Heart of (the) Man, or the Woman who lost her patience”

A.Martinet, Caricatures universelles, Satire - elegantly dressed young woman attempting to drive an arrow with mallet into the stone heart of her beloved. Nov 1816.

A.Martinet, Caricatures universelles, Satire – Nov 1816.

I wish I could read what she’s saying, but I can only make out something like “We would rather … with teeth.” The words running along the arrow are also too blurry. However, I can read the caption next to the heart, which reads “like rock.”

(If anyone does know what she’s saying, please let me know. I imagine it’s something rather…inspired.)


2 thoughts on “An 1816 Regency Anti-Valentine

    • I know what you mean – it’s unusual and lovely at the same time. I’d love to know the story behind what drove her to pound an arrow through the guy’s heart, even though the possibilities are just about endless.

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