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Locket

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1816 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled gold set with a miniature

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Joan Evans

  • Museum number:

    M.117-1962

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 81, shelf D6, box 3

Louisa and Frances Bohun were two of the seven children of the Beccles solicitor George William Browne Bohun and his wife Mary Ward, the daughter of a clergyman and author. Louisa, who was painted wearing Elizabethan costume in the miniature portrait on the front of the locket, died in April 1816 aged 18. Her younger sister Frances, whose hair is set under glass at the back of the locket, died in August of the same year, aged only 15. Their eldest sister Mary survived them by a year, dying in 1817 aged 23. There is a memorial to the family in Worlingham church, Suffolk.

The locket memorialising the two girls was probably made for a member of their close family. Mourning jewellery set with hair has been made since at least the 17th century. In 1647, Mary Verney wrote to her husband Sir Ralph who was living in exile during the Commonwealth period to ask him to send her locks of hair from their young daughter who had recently died in order to make a bracelet. Wearing jewellery set with hair from a loved one might have provided some comfort and served as a tangible reminder of the deceased in a time of high mortality.

Physical description

Locket with an enamelled gold frame inscribed LOUISA BOHUN: OB: 14: APR: 1816 AET 18 enclosing a miniature of a girl in Elizabethan costume. At the back, the inscription FRANCES: BOHUN: OB: 1 AUG: 1816: AET 15.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1816 (dated)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Enamelled gold set with a miniature

Marks and inscriptions

'LOUISA BOHUN: OB: 14: APR: 1816 AET 18'
Inscribed on frame

'FRANCES: BOHUN: OB: 1 AUG: 1816: AET 15.'
Inscribed on the back

Dimensions

Height: 3.9 cm, Width: 3 cm, Depth: 0.9 cm

Descriptive line

Locket with an enamelled gold frame inscribed LOUISA BOHUN: OB: 14: APR: 1816 AET 18 enclosing a miniature of a girl in Elizabethan costume. At the back, the inscription FRANCES: BOHUN: OB: 1 AUG: 1816: AET 15., England, 1816

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bury, Shirley Sentimental Jewellery, London 1985

Materials

Gold; Pearl; Silk (textile)

Subjects depicted

Miniatures (paintings); Girls; Mourning

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Death; Children & Childhood

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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