Mar 21st: A VICTORIAN PHENOMENON – Stewart Gardiner

Any audience addicted to TV would be thrilled to view the recent, “Victoria”. At the last meeting of the above Club members were intrigued, and certainly not disappointed, by Stewart Gardiner’s wonderful display on “A Victorian Phenomenon”. Stewart informed the group about wealthy nobility of the 18th century on Grand Tours to Italy, from where they brought home cameo mementos, later to be used as seals on their letters. Stewart’s first pre Victorian gem was a 1516 seal on an entire letter from the Papal States. A mind blowing assortment of paper based Wafer Seals from Italy in the 1830’ s caught the attention. Further sheets contained examples of seals extensively used in the United States. As gummed envelopes came into fashion, so the need for wafer Seals diminished as security devices. From the 1850,s “Wafers” contained sentimental, love notes. By 1860, the seals were used as postal advertising, or “propaganda” between waring nations, or to promote various exhibitions. If the T.V. drama might have induced a momentary “nod off” there was no chance of that happening during Stewart’s astonishing, and breath-taking presentation. Indeed a joy to behold and a privilege to see.

Posted in: 2018-19

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