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Ephemera Events, News & Exhibitions

2018 fair dates

Ephemera Society Fairs 2018

  • Sundays · 20 May · 2 December
  • Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury
  • Coram Street
  • London WC1N 1HT
  • United Kingdom
  • All are welcome · Entry £3 · 11am - 4pm
  • Members from 10am with membership cards




The Object of My Affection: Stories of love from the Fitzwilliam collection

Until 27 May 2018

Love is the air

Love is very much in the air in this exhibition, which contains objects alive with the range of emotions that it commands; from admiration and affection, joy and passion, longing and despair, to insults, indifference, grief and remembrance.

The exhibition will showcase the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of valentines, which date from the eighteenth century to the twentieth and include a wide variety of sentimental and decorative types as well as comic examples.

Alongside the valentines will be an assortment of other objects relating to the theme of love, including posy rings, love tokens and works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) and James Gillray (1756-1815).

  • The Fitzwilliam Museum
  • Shiba (Gallery 14)
  • Trumpington Street
  • Cambridge CB2 1RB
  • UK
  • More details



Valentines: Highlights from the Collection at The Fitzwilliam Museum

Author: Rebecca Virag Image of Valentine catalogue

the Fitzwilliam Museum has a large collection of around 1,600 Valentines, which range in date from the early eighteenth century to the 1920s. The vast majority were left to the Museum in 1928 by mathematician and Fellow of Trinity College, J.W.L. Glaisher.

Two more Cambridge alumni, the Rev. Herbert Bull (Trinity) and Sir Stephen Gaselee (King’s) also gave their much smaller collections of valentines to the Museum in 1917 and 1942. The Bull valentines are particularly fascinating as they are rare survivals of mid-eighteenth century silhouette cut-paper work and are unlike anything collected by either Glaisher or Gaselee. The Glaisher collection alone is one of the largest amassed by a single collector currently in a UK public collection.

The Glaisher valentines have not been seen in public since 1995, some twenty-three years ago and since then the entire valentine collection has been catalogued, researched, photographed and re-housed. This selection of highlights has been published to coincide with a new display of some of these extraordinary objects as part of the exhibition, The Object of my Affection: stories of love from the Fitzwilliam collection (Until 28 May, 2018).

More details


Dashers and dandies: elegance or vanity

Victorian valentines and the the artifice of dress Image of Valentine

Ephemera Society member Julie Anne Lambert's post on the Bodleian Libraries blog gives an insight into the fashions depicted on the Victorian valentine.

Men and women were equally lampooned. One of the aims of the valentine’s satire was to expose to general derision a classic lower class character with upper class aspirations. It is said that delicacy is a great virtue, well there is no shortage of indelicacy to be found amongst these Victorian comic valentines.

Go to Blog

The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera has collaborated with the National Valentine Collectors Association to create an exceptional resource over the past few years for everyone interested in the history of valentines. This year's theme, just uploaded, is Fashion and dress: satirical and sentimental.

Visit the collection on Pinterest


  ETC fairs logo

Bloomsbury Ephemera Fair

29 April 2018 · 9.30am - 3pm

The fair will include all of the following: books, ephemera, maps, prints, posters, postcards, photographs and many unusual printed items across the whole of the Galleon Suite.

  • Royal National Hotel
  • Bedford Way
  • London WC1H 0DG
  • UK
  • More details


Image of poster

Printing a modern world: commercial graphics in the 1930s

Until 19 August 2018

Distinctive examples of small commercial ‘jobs’ from British, European and American graphic designers reveal the daily lives of ordinary people during a time of rapid change and technological innovation.

  • Gallery 102
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Cromwell Road
  • London SW7 2RL
  • UK
  • More details


Early Printed Fans

Until 6 May 2018

The New Union Charade Fan depicting 24 riddles c1801

The New Union Charade Fan depicting twenty-four riddles c1801

Technological improvements meant that by the mid-Eighteenth century, fans decorated with printed rather than painted designs were gaining in popularity. They could be manufactured in quantity, at speed and most importantly, at reduced cost. Fan retailers and print publishers were quick to catch on, churning out engraved or etched designs on paper mounted to sticks plainly fashioned of ivory, bone and wood – affordable to most levels of society.

Folding fans were no longer an accessory associated only with the very wealthy. An anonymous fan painter attempting to maintain his artful trade observes that women took up printed fans (somewhat theatrically referred to as ‘the Evils’) with enthusiasm. Polite society was aflutter with political trials, military propaganda, social satires and more. In fact there was hardly a subject that did not appear in some form or another on the leaf of a printed fan.

Early Printed Fans brings together a diverse array of fans from The Fan Museum’s unrivalled collections, and offers a unique and fascinating perspective on the cultural, political and social atmosphere of Europe in the long Eighteenth Century.

  • The Fan Museum
  • 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich
  • London SE10 8ER
  • UK
  • More details


Albums & Scraps
Saint Valentines Day
Easter & Fairyland
Christmas & New Year
Printed Ephemera