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True love is not finding someone you can live with. It’s finding that one person you can’t live without.

I admit it. I’m a complete sap. A true romantic in every sense of the word. I believe in love at first sight, true love and soulmates. “Once upon a time…” and “They lived happily ever after…” have always brought me much joy and great comfort. I’ll take a “boy meets girl, falls in love with girl, overcomes all to be with girl” happy-ending story over anything else, any day of the week. I felt this way when I was four, and I’m not ashamed to say that I still believe it to this day.

So it won’t come as a surprise to learn that there’s a special place in my heart for beautiful vintage illustrations — and especially illustrations of couples in love. We don’t get to see a whole lot of illustrating today, but in the 1950s and ’60s, artists like Coby Whitmore and Jon Whitcomb (my two favourites) were creating some of the most gorgeous images the art world has ever seen.

Jon Whitcomb illustration for Community Silverplate cutlery

Jon Whitcomb illustration for Community Silverplate cutlery

Alongside pretty pin-ups selling Coca-Cola were captivating images of men and women in love. They helped sell chocolates, perfumes, even cigarettes and kitchen appliances. This underappreciated branch of fine art could be found on billboards, as well as gracing the covers and pages of magazines and digests.

When I first joined Pinterest (yes, sorry, I’m one of those people), one of the first boards I started was called “Perchance to Dream”, and on it I’ve gathered an abundance of deliciously romantic depictions of happy couples embracing in the most heartwarming of ways. I’ll usually pair them with a love quote that best suits the image, and I must confess — sappy and over-the-top doesn’t bother me in the least! When the right person tells you that they love you, even the corniest phrase is like being completely engulfed by a symphony playing the most beautiful melody you could imagine.

Perchance to Dream Again24

So seeing that today is Valentine’s Day and I’m in a disgustingly sentimental and joyous mood, I thought I’d share something that makes me happy — a selection of the best vintage romance illustrations that I’ve collected, and some of the wonderful love quotes that I like to pair them with.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought.” 
~ Arthur Conan Doyle, “The White Company”

“I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river; to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.”
~ Virginia Woolf

You are the answer to every prayer I’ve offered. You are a song, a dream, a whisper, and I don’t know how I could have lived without you for as long as I have.

~ Nicholas Sparks, “The Notebook”

“But we loved with a love that was more than love.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe, “Annabel Lee

“Don’t find love, let love find you. That’s why it’s called “falling in love”. Because you don’t force yourself to fall. You just fall.”

It’s not just what I feel for you; it’s what I do not feel for anyone but you.

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
~ Dr. Seuss

“You know that place between sleep and awake; that place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I will always love you, that’s where I will be waiting.”
~ Peter Pan

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

~ Pablo Neruda

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”
~ Shakespeare

“Two souls are sometimes created together and in love before they’re born.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

The course of true love never did run smooth.” But true love continues to run nonetheless. That’s what makes it “true”.

“Love has its own particular point of view. It sees everything larger than life. Nothing is too ornate, too fanciful, too dramatic. With it, we can see what we wish to see in other people. Without it, we can’t see anything at all. We can search forever, and never find.”
~ Millie McKenzie, The Twilight Zone, “Passage on the Lady Anne”

No matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will somehow make it. Have an unrelenting belief that things will work out, that the long road has a purpose, that the things that you desire may not happen today, but they will happen. Continue to persist and persevere.

~ Brad Gast