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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1842 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Forrer, A. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hair, gold wire, engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss M. B. Sparks

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Death was highly visible in Victorian culture. It was a time for communal feeling, studied response and ritual, with people encouraged to give public expression to their grief. Throughout the Victorian period there were 'hair artists' who specialised in turning locks of hair into jewellery that could be worn as a very physical memorial to someone who had died. Printed catalogues presented customers with a choice of designs and offered discreet guarantees that the locks of hair were not muddled or substituted in the process. The back of this brooch is engraved with the dates of a sixteen-year-old who died in 1842.

Physical description

Hair-work brooch made of brown human hair. Shaped in a bow. The centre is bound round with gold wire and the ends are trimmed with gold tassels. There is a gold pin engraved with the birth and death dates of a 16-year-old. With a black card box with an engraved label.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1842 (made)


Forrer, A. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Hair, gold wire, engraved

Descriptive line

Bow-shaped hair-work brooch, with card box, made by A. Forrer, London, ca. 1842

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

John Culme, The Directory of Gold & Silversmiths: Jewellers & Allied Traders 1838-1914, Vol. 1, (Suffolk: Antique Collectors Club, 1987)
‘In and Out of Mourning’ in Shirley Bury, Jewellery 1789-1910: The International Era, Vol. II 1862-1910, (Suffolk: Antique Collectors Club, 1991), 656-709
‘Mourning Jewellery’, in Lou Taylor, Mourning Dress, (London: Routledge, 2010), 224-247


Metalwork; Jewellery; Death; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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