History of Dundee postcard and greeting card publisher, Valentine’s Day celebrated in V&A exhibition

An exhibition which explores the history of a postcard and greetings card publisher in Dundee is about to open at the V&A.

Recognized as one of Dundee’s most successful employers, Valentines popularized the picture postcard by capitalizing on the rapid developments in photography, printing and tourism in the early 20th century.

Developed in conjunction with the University of St Andrews, Sincerely, Valentines – From Postcards to Greetings Cards is a partnership between V&A Dundee and curatorial firm Panel, uncovering the company’s fascinating history.

More than 40 families with Valentine’s Day connections have come forward to contribute to the exhibition, which celebrates the workmanship, design process and production of the Dundee business, which has operated for 150 years in the city.

V&A Dundee

The exhibition features postcards, photographic negatives, prints, sales catalogues, workplace publications and magazines, which are on loan from the Valentine Photographic Collection at the University of St Andrews and private lenders .

The new work commissioned by curators Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachan of Panel includes a series of oversized postcards by graphic designer Maeve Redmond and a film by Rob Kennedy, which features stories and memories of people who worked in the company from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Andrew Valentine, great-great-grandson of founder James Valentine, said: “As the last member of the Valentine family to work at Valentine and Sons, it’s wonderful to be able to help celebrate the major contribution of the company both to its pioneering activities. work in photography and design, and their proud track record as a major employer in Dundee.

“I’m the sixth generation, but the Sincerely, Valentines exhibit is about the skills of the previous five generations who have dedicated their entire working lives to the company and the dedication of a very loyal workforce. Without them, none of the company’s global successes would have been possible.

V&A Dundee

“My brother Malcolm and I decided several years ago that the company’s achievements had never been properly recognized. Jute, Jam and Journalism all rightly had their place as major contributors to Dundee, but we believed we also deserved our place and were determined to make it happen.

“Unfortunately Malcolm died in 2016, and it was not until two years later that I approached the team at V&A Dundee with a view to mounting a major exhibition, backed by Valentine’s photographic archive which is held by the St Andrews University Library.

“From this first meeting, the enthusiasm of the whole team made it an extremely enriching project in which to get involved. Sincerely, Valentines – From Postcards to Greetings Cards is the result of the help and support of many people. My only regret is that the early family and workforce weren’t around to see Valentine and Sons recorded so professionally.

Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “The V&A Dundee is delighted to welcome people from across the city and beyond to enjoy this fascinating free exhibition celebrating the Dundee Valentines Society, which with the help of its workforce, has gone from being a family business to becoming one. of the world’s most successful and innovative postcard publishers.

“Their story, told beautifully in the exhibition, weaves many stories from design and social history to personal memories and nostalgia for the past.”