Brooch

ca. 1875 (made)
Brooch 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
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Jet and materials imitating it were often used in mourning jewellery in the 19th century. The prolonged mourning of Queen Victoria after the death of her husband Albert in 1861, encouraged the wearing of mourning dress. As supplies of jet were not always sufficient for the demand, lower cost alternatives were developed such as cast glass ('French jet' or 'Vauxhall glass'), a type of rubber known as vulcanite, bog oak and ebonised wood.

This brooch is made of carved ebonised wood. Its role as mourning jewellery is signalled by the sombre colour and the use of a hand, emerging from a fashionable sleeve, clutching a yew wreath, a plant associated with cemeteries and mourning. Mourning required not only black clothes but suitable accessories such as jet jewellery. Queen magazine (December 1891) advised its readers that 'nobody requires to be told that a superabundance of jewellery is in especially bad taste at seasons of mourning. A few trinkets however must be worn, if only to accentuate the general sombreness of the costume'.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved ebonised wood imitating jet and copper alloy pin
Brief Description
Brooch in the form of a hand clutching a wreath of yew. Ebonized wood and copper alloy. England, about 1875.
Physical Description
Brooch in the form of a hand clutching a spray of yew. Carved ebonised wood imitating jet and copper alloy pin fixed by screws to the back of the brooch.
Dimensions
  • Width: 6.1cm
  • Height: 2.1cm
  • Depth: 1.5cm
Subjects depicted
Summary
Jet and materials imitating it were often used in mourning jewellery in the 19th century. The prolonged mourning of Queen Victoria after the death of her husband Albert in 1861, encouraged the wearing of mourning dress. As supplies of jet were not always sufficient for the demand, lower cost alternatives were developed such as cast glass ('French jet' or 'Vauxhall glass'), a type of rubber known as vulcanite, bog oak and ebonised wood.



This brooch is made of carved ebonised wood. Its role as mourning jewellery is signalled by the sombre colour and the use of a hand, emerging from a fashionable sleeve, clutching a yew wreath, a plant associated with cemeteries and mourning. Mourning required not only black clothes but suitable accessories such as jet jewellery. Queen magazine (December 1891) advised its readers that 'nobody requires to be told that a superabundance of jewellery is in especially bad taste at seasons of mourning. A few trinkets however must be worn, if only to accentuate the general sombreness of the costume'.
Collection
Accession Number
MET.LOST.2043

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record createdFebruary 5, 2008
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