True romantics know the value of a handwritten message. We take a look at some of history’s most romantic penmanship to provide some inspiration this Valentine’s Day.

Beethoven to his ‘immortal beloved’

The identity of Beethoven’s ‘immortal beloved’ remains mere speculation, but these love letters have become the bench mark for romantic missives.  Sadly, it seems the intended recipient may never have known the depth of his feelings, for they remained unsent.

“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm–love me–today–yesterday–what tearful longings for you–you–you–my life–my all–farewell. Oh continue to love me–never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”

Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood

Ever the pragmatist, the author and scientist wrote a list of pros and cons before deciding to marry, eventually settling on his first cousin, Emma Wedgewood. He wrote these words to her a few days before their wedding day.

“How I do hope you shall be happy as I know I shall be. My own dearest Emma, I earnestly pray, you may never regret the great, and I will add very good, deed you are to perform on the Tuesday: my own dear future wife, God bless you.”

Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas

The tempestuous love affair between Oscar Wilde and to Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas is one of history’s most passionate and ill-fated romances. Many of the love letters sent by Wilde to his young lover were used as evidence in his trial, but this note as penned shortly after his release.

“My own Darling Boy - I got your telegram half an hour ago, and just send a line to say that I feel that my only hope of again doing beautiful work in art is being with you. It was not so in the old days, but now it is different, and you can really recreate in me that energy and sense of joyous power on which art depends... 

There are such wide abysses now of space and land between us. But we love each other - Goodnight, dear. Ever yours.”

Marlon Brando, to the airline steward who caught his eye mid-flight

Perhaps not the most traditional of love letters, we were struck by the honesty in this note, penned to the air stewardess who caught Marlon Brando’s eye somewhere above the Atlantic. How could a girl refuse?

Dear Lady —There is something not quite definable in your face — something lovely, not pretty in a conventionally thought of way. You have something graceful and tender and feminine. You seem to be a woman who has been loved in her childhood, or else, somehow by the mystery of genetic phenomena you have been visited by the gifts of refinement, dignity and poise. Perhaps you cannot be accredited with all that.

Irrespective of your gothic aspects, you have passed something on in terms of your expression, mien and general comportment that is unusual and rewarding. It’s been a pleasant if brief encounter and I wish you well and I hope we shall have occasion to cross eyes again sometime.

And finally, let's spare a thought for Charlie Brown

'There must be people all over the world who never get any love letters... I could be their leader."

Feeling inspired? Emboss your own handwritten message on a piece from Anya Hindmarch Bespoke