True Lover's Knot

Contributed by M Schultz

A "fraktur"-style paper labyrinth called "A True Lover's Knot". In the latter 18th & early 19th-centuries, amongst some Colonial Americans, this type of handmade love token was utilized to express affection or propose marriage. It features penned messages within maze-like linear bands enclosing English text. One can follow the text along more than one path and still come out with a sensible message. To read the text from any entry point, one rotates the paper--this clever presentation was intended to amuse the recipient. This form of folk art correspondence predates the advent of regular postal systems and mass-produced printed love notes (including Valentines). Most existing American examples were made between approximately 1760 and 1840.This object says something about western calligraphy, particularly the Roundhand aka Copperplate style of writing in use until the advent of Spencerian in the mid-19th c. It features the skill set of an itinerant Quaker schoolmaster of Welsh descent. Carefully executed with a compass, brush, and a quill pen (metal nibs were not in use yet). It is a folk art form of which few examples of this caliber have survived to the present day.

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Bedford Co., Pennsylvania, USA




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