Luckily for me my husband is an incredible romantic and rather creative too. Recently we decorated the living room in our Tudor merchant’s house and he decided to embellish the wall over the fireplace beam with a stencil he had made by taking a rubbing from a Tudor stone fireplace in a previous home – told you he was rather creative! Unbeknown to me, while this process was underway he also made a monogram of our initials and cut out a stencil so he could paint it in pride of place in the centre of the pattern. I was totally surprised and overjoyed with the results, a wonderful and a romantic symbolic affirmation of our marriage.
The definition of a monogram is: A motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person’s initials to identify a personal possession or as a logo. With Valentine’s Day almost upon us my thoughts are turning to the romantic gesture of creating a couple’s monogram and the symbolic nature of the interwoven initials – though monogram etiquette insists they can only be created after the marriage!
This symbolic art form with a long and enduring history is widely used in royal marriages and was once more about possession than romantic love. There are some wonderful jewellery examples in Tudor portraiture. Anne Boleyn famously wore a ‘B’ pendant symbolising her belonging to the Boleyn family but after her marriage to Henry Tudor she is painted wearing a new monogram pendant with ‘H’ to represent Henry and ‘A’ for Anne.
During the Tudor period for those that could afford it the ‘love knot’ initial rings were also popular.
Monogram protocol is that the husband’s initial should be the dominant one, above or in front of the wife’s; in the case of the Henry Tudor and Anne Boleyn pendant the ‘A’ is within the ‘H’.
In the recent royal marriage of William and Kate it has been reversed on the official commemorative china due to the designers spotting the potentially embarrassing monogram of WC hitting the world! Catherine (Kate) Middleton is the first royal bride to have her initial above the groom’s.
Today marriage monograms seem detached from their origins as the letters are often separate from each other, arguing the case that it ceases to be a monogram at all – but nevertheless they are sold as such!
For this Valentine’s day how about creating your own monogram to personalise that special gift or handmade card? If you need a bit of help with inspiration or total design there are many wonderful sites online that can assist you such as http://www.monogrampage.co.uk/monogram and Pinterest.
A personal favourite of mine…..and because I am baking obsessed…… is using a monogram stamp with fondant icing instead of wax to make an edible seal. These seals are perfect for decorating a cupcake or biscuit with for a Valentine treat.
Or you can order an ink stamp to personalise a card or gift.
So what am I going to do for this Valentine’s Day? ………I am planning to paper stich our monogram onto a card for my beloved. Thankfully I have found a tutorial!