Wedding anniversaries are occasions to be celebrated, each one a unique and triumphant marker of another year together. In the days of the Roman Empire, husbands crowned their wives with silver and gold wreaths on their 25th and 50th anniversary. In addition to these 25th and 50th anniversaries, in the last century the tradition has since evolved to include designated gifts for many other yearly anniversaries. As the years go by, the value or symbolism of the traditional gifts evolve to reflect the length of the marriage. Here we have selected a few of these anniversaries and given a few ideas on how to incorporate fine art into the tradition and these very special days.
1st Anniversary: Paper
Couples approaching their first anniversary may be stumped when it comes to giving their significant other the gift of paper. But with a bit of thought, paper can become an incredibly meaningful gift. Watercolours, prints and engravings all fall within the realm of paper, so a painting or print of a special place or even the wedding venue make a cherished gift that can hang on the wall year-round. It is also worth keeping in mind that many artists will happily do commissions, adding a personal touch to an already thoughtful gift.
|'The Hospitium'||'Durham Cathedral'|
|Original watercolour painting by Ken Burton||Hand-coloured engraving|
4th Anniversary: Fruit or Flowers
Fresh fruit or flowers are a welcome delight on an anniversary. But in addition to the day’s traditional treats, some couples might wish to give something with a bit more longevity. A still life painting of fruit or flowers keeps with the traditional gift for a fourth anniversary, and will last and be enjoyed long after the celebratory bouquet has wilted.
|'Bowl of Cherries'|
|Original oil painting by Raymond Campbell|
8th Anniversary: Bronze
A hard-wearing metal with historical and anthropological significance, bronze is a tangible reminder of the growing strength of a marriage. A mixture of copper and tin, bronze is both strong, practical and in many cases, beautiful. A bronze sculpture is the perfect way to mark the anniversary and give a gift that will continue to be treasured for many years to come.
|'Stag Roaring'||'The Chase'|
|Limited edition bronze sculpture by Michael Simpson||Limited edition bronze sculpture by Michael Simpson|
11th Anniversary: Steel
With a base metal of iron, steel is even more robust than bronze, making it yet another appropriate symbolic gift of a marriage’s strength. Like bronze sculptures for an eighth anniversary, steel sculptures make creative gifts for an eleventh anniversary and add a less conventional medium to a fine art collection.
|Original steel sculpture by Leon Leigh|
30th, 25th and 50th Anniversaries: Pearl, Silver and Gold
When using the traditional anniversary gifts as a guide, it is worth remembering that creativity and a fresh perspective can give a traditional gift a clever twist. For example, the 30th wedding anniversary is traditionally known as the ‘pearl anniversary’, with pearls being the traditional gift to mark the occasion. But in a clever play-on-words, John Haskins’ original oil painting ‘Pearl Fishers’ could be an equally appropriate gift that aligns with tradition. Alternatively, while perhaps not as directly related, an original painting presented in a silver or gold frame or with a silver or gold dedication plaque could also be an option for the 25th or 50th anniversaries.
|'Pearl Fishers'||'Memories from a North Yorkshire Farm'|
|Original oil painting by John Haskins||Original oil painting by Edward Hersey|