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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1775-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold set with seed pearls, watercolour on ivory and hair

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 81, shelf D3, box 6

Memorial jewellery to honour the dead is one of the largest categories of 18th- century jewellery to survive. Many mourning jewels have inscriptions that record the name and dates of the dead person.

From 1760 there was a new vogue for memorial medallions or lockets. These became especially popular in Britain, though similar work was produced throughout Europe.

The lockets could be bought ready made, and the designs were standardised. Neo-classical motifs of funerary urns, plinths and obelisks joined the more traditional cherubs, angels and weeping willows. Hair was preserved as curls within the locket, or cut up and used to create designs.

Physical description

Gold bracelet clasp set with seed pearls enclosing a miniature of an urn embellished with hair painted in watercolour on ivory

Place of Origin

England (made)


1775-1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold set with seed pearls, watercolour on ivory and hair


Height: 3.1 cm, Width: 1.8 cm, Depth: 0.8 cm

Object history note

Part of a group of memorial and mourning jewels bought from Dr Marco Guastalla, acting on behalf of 'an English lady residing in Italy' (museum numbers 846-1888 to 989-1888)

Descriptive line

Gold bracelet clasp set with seed pearls, ivory painted in watercolour, a miniature of an urn embellished with hair, England, 1775-1800


Gold; Seed pearls; Human hair; Ivory

Subjects depicted

Miniatures (paintings); Urns


Jewellery; Metalwork; Death


Metalwork Collection

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