A Wonderful c.1870 Shadow Box Framed Naval Sailor's Sweetheart Valentine Cushion


Origin: British
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1870-90
Width: 11.5 inches
Height: 15.75 inches
The Whole: 15.75 X 20 inches

The oak shadow box framed and glazed Victorian period naval sweetheart pin cushion with electric blue frilled outer in the form of an anchor having applied decoration to include union jacks, sailing ships, anchors (the largest in Whitby jet) and pictures of Queen Victoria, to include the sewn text; ‘With Best Wishes’ above.

The cushion has not suffered any losses to it and none of the applied decoration is loose. The oak box frame is in super order with only two or three very minor chips retaining its original gilt slip.

Presented to young ladies by their sweethearts and beautifully decorated, cushions were often given as a love token and its creation would have helped pass the long hours at sea and this tradition was carried on by soldiers throughout World War I. The anchor is an obvious symbol of the sea but also a symbol of security, steadfastness, and hope (as per our company logo). Many sailors used shells to create their valentines whilst these cushions are rarely framed and nine times out of ten examples are heart or simply rectangular shaped making this particular example scarce and unusual and thus desirable.

This hugely decorative work harks back to a time when sailors would have taken great risks in going to sea and as such represents a piece of art with weighty sentimental overtones.