Locket thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Locket

mid 18th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold with openwork set with garnets enclosing a painting on ivory incorporating hair, the back set with agate
Brief Description
Gold frame with an openwork bow set with garnets and enclosing a painting on ivory adorned with pieces of hair, of a man fishing, England, mid 18th century
Physical Description
Drop shaped gold frame with an openwork bow set with garnets and enclosing a painting in ivory adorned with pieces of hair, of a man fishing, the back set with agate
Dimensions
  • Height: 3cm
  • Width: 2.3cm
  • Depth: 0.5cm
Object history
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)
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
930-1888

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record createdJuly 19, 2006
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