With an extensive collection that spans the breadth of human expression, from the hopelessly saccharine to the playfully surreal, Forget Me Not: Poetry and Pictures in Victorian and Edwardian Greeting Cards is the latest free exhibition from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Poetry Library, in which the relationship between verse and image from the ‘Golden Age’ of greetings cards is deconstructed.

Featuring examples of the countless Christmas, New Year, Easter, congratulatory and sympathy cards exchanged annually between 1840 and 1920, the exhibition provides fascinating insight into a bygone language of celebration, love and grief which resonates with emotional familiarity. Forget Me Not includes pieces from the Laura Seddon Collection, the largest single-donor collection of greetings cards in the country, with 32,500 housed in the university’s Special Collections Museum. Featuring rare works like the Cole Horsley Christmas Card (pictured), recognised as the first commercially printed Christmas card in the UK, and original work from the likes of Kate Greenaway, Walter Crane and Beatrix Potter, the collection isn’t searchable online and is usually only available by appointment in the Reading Room, making Forget Me Not a priceless one-off chance to drop in and see some of the cards without booking.

Free to visit, the exhibition runs from Mon 11 July to Sat 17 September and is part of a wider project run by the Special Collections Museum and the Long Nineteenth Century Network from Manchester Metropolitan University’s English department.

Mon 11 Jul - Sat 17 Sep, Manchester Poetry Library,
Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BG
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 8 Jul 2022