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Pendant

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1796 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold with plaited hairwork with a diamond band on blue glass with seed pearls

  • Credit Line:

    Transferred to the V&A from the National Portrait Gallery

  • Museum number:

    M.7-1958

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 81, shelf D5, box 10

The architect Sir William Chambers who is commemorated by this jewel was born in Sweden. The Vasa crest ( the wheatsheaf ) is associated with the Swedish Royal family.

Hair had long been important in sentimental jewellery, but during the 18th century it took on a new prominence. It could now form the centrepiece of a jewel, arranged in complicated motifs or as plain, woven sections. Tiny fragments of hair could even be incorporated into delicate paintings. Some designs were made by professionals, but many women chose to work the hair of loved ones themselves, using gum to secure their creations.

Hair jewels were worn to cherish the living as well as to remember the dead. The survival of many pieces celebrating love and friendship indicate their great social importance.

Physical description

Gold pendant, the frame with plaited hairwork enclosing a hair wheatsheaf (the Vasa crest) bound with a diamond band on blue glass. At the back an inscription in seed pearls Sir William Chambers died March 1796, Aged 74.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1796 (dated)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold with plaited hairwork with a diamond band on blue glass with seed pearls

Marks and inscriptions

inscribed in seed pearls Sir William Chambers died March 1796, Aged 74.
At the back

Dimensions

Height: 6.7 cm, Width: 4.7 cm, Depth: 1.3 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: Part of a collection of relics of the architect Sir William Chambers (1726-1796) bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery, this piece transferred to the V&A

Descriptive line

Gold pendant, the frame with plaited hairwork enclosing a hair wheatsheaf (the Vasa crest) bound with a diamond band on blue glass. At the back an inscription in seed pearls Sir William Chambers died March 1796, Aged 74., England, dated 1796

Materials

Gold; Diamond; Seed pearls; Glass; Hair

Subjects depicted

Mourning; Crests

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Death; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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