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24 best Valentines pictures as exhibition celebrating Dundee postcard firm heads for V&A

Factory workers at Valentines, Dundee, in 1968.
Factory workers at Valentines, Dundee, in 1968.

A Dundee commercial photography company best known for popularising the holiday postcard will be celebrated in a free exhibition at the V&A this summer.

Sincerely, Valentines – From Postcards to Greetings Cards runs from July 2 until January 8, 2023 and will tell the story of Dundee company J Valentine & Sons.

Two recent public appeals in The Courier led to more than 40 families getting in touch to share their memories.

The family firm, founded in Dundee in 1825, capitalised on rapid developments in photography, printing and tourism in the early 20th century to create a fascinating body of work and a vibrant industry.

It quickly became one of the city’s largest employers.

The exhibition, developed in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, is a partnership between V&A Dundee and curatorial practice Panel.

It uncovers the story of Valentines, bringing together the disciplines of photography, illustration and print design.

The free exhibition will be displayed in V&A Dundee’s Michelin Design Gallery.

Central to the exhibition is new work from designer Maeve Redmond.

She has created a series of oversized postcards in response to the vast Valentines archive print collection.

It also features a new film by Rob Kennedy focusing on the stories and experiences of those who worked for Valentines, highlighting the important contribution Valentines made to Dundee’s social, cultural and industrial heritage.

Here, we showcase a selection of postcards made by Valentines alongside some images of employees at work.


A Valentine postcard showing City Square, Dundee, 1940, courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library
A Valentines postcard showing The Harbour, St Andrews, 1940, courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library
Albert Institute, Dundee, colour postcard Valentine & Sons Ltd. 1904
Workers at Valentines Kingsway factory, 1964
Preparing print plates at the Kingsway Factory, 1960
Sunset on the Tay, Dundee, 1940, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: JV-Art-1128
Anstruther from Esplanade, 1934, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: JV-A-763
Good Luck from Dundee, black and white four-view postcard Valentine & Sons Ltd, 1937
A woman sorting cards at Valentines, Dundee in August 1960
Valentines factory, Kingsway, 1960
At Blairgowrie, 1891, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: JV-14418
The Chute, Bathing Pool, Arbroath, 1934, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: JV-A-533
Greetings from Kirriemuir, 1936, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: JV-A-3732-A
Proofing a print at the Valentines Kingsway factory, 1960
Postcards emerging from the developing and processing tanks being cut into manageable lengths by Elizabeth Reilly at the Kingsway factory in 1955
Valentines postcards – greetings from Alyth!
A Wee Scotch frae Broughty Ferry, 1960, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: JV-D-6188
Black and white postcard of Valentines multi-pics promotional launch, 1964
Porotbello bathing pool panoramic colour-printed postcard 1936
Valentines factory, Dundee, October 1955, This is where they glaze the postcards. Lena Wadell (left) and Elizabeth Sexton smooth the cards on to the glass, on which is a glazing solution
Beach and Castle, Broughty Ferry, 1959, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library
Den o’ Alyth Swimming Pool from Morgan’s Steps, 1959, Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library
Mary Hopkin visited Valentines studio to promote her debut album called Postcards. Jimmy Thompson and George Dignan were asked to design a special card for her. Picture shows; Mary Hopkin. Valentines, Dundee
Back Cover of A Sentimental Journey promotional brochure for Valentines and Sons Ltd, circa 1960s, courtesy of the Special Collections Division at the University of St. Andrews Library

FEATURE: V&A Dundee seeks memories from staff at former city postcard firm Valentines

V&A Dundee exhibition will celebrate the story of city postcard firm Valentines

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