Brooch

ca. 1842 (made)
Brooch thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Box
  • Brooch
  • Lid
  • Ephemera
Materials and Techniques
Hair, gold wire, engraved
Brief Description
Bow-shaped hair-work brooch, with card box, made by A. Forrer, London, ca. 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.
Credit line
Given by Miss M. B. Sparks
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
T.342&A-1965

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdDecember 20, 2006
Record URL