OYSTER BAY - Iconic Long Island artist Mort Künstler is known mostly for his depictions of the Civil War and the American Revolution. But his portrayal of the "first valentine" is depicting a much more tender moment.
The artwork called "Sally's Valentine" depicts what happened in Oyster Bay on Feb. 14, 1779. On that day, Sally Townsend, of Oyster Bay, received a valentine from British soldier Col. John Graves Simcoe.
"The story goes he fell in love with Sally and he gave her what is called the first valentine and I thought it would be a great picture to do," said Künstler.
The lengthy love poem, which is still on display at Raynham Hall, and the picture painted by Künstler hints to the difficulty Col. Simcoe felt being in love with the enemy.
Historians do not know if Townsend returned Col. Simcoe's affections, but they do know she kept his valentine until the day she died.
Künstler's latest exhibit, The Art of Adventure, will be on display at The Long Island Museum at Stony Brook on Feb. 26.