Lockets 26.11.2012

Charles II Pendant

Charles II Locket

The reunification of England was crucial to the development of the mourning and sentimental jewellery industry, primarily due to religious and economical issues.

The restoration of the monarchy in began in 1658, following the death of Oliver Cromwell and the decline of the English Interregnum, by 1660, Charles II began many reforms (and revisions of history stating that he had succeeded his father from 1649). Most importantly to memorial jewellery and the culture of mourning was the Clarendon Code, which in a series of Acts (Corporation, Uniformity, Conventicle and Five Mile), effectively re-established the Church of England.

Royalist, 17th century, Locket, Miniature Portrait, Charles II, Memorial, Historical

Ecclesiastical underpinning and the interpretation of the ‘self’ is the nature of how mourning could be presented as fashion. Grief, as an emotion, is natural and the period of grieving, quite simply, is intimate to the person who experiences it. Mourning, for the purposes of fashion and affectation, were dictated by a culture that looked to the monarch for the ‘rules’ on which to present themselves and family in grief. For example, in France, it was Ordre Chronologique des Deuils de la Cour, (1765) where details of Court mourning in France were published, giving precise tailoring instructions. From their first days in mourning, men were permitted to appear in Court, unless it was after the death of a parent from whom they had received inheritance.

Court and fashion were intrinsically linked; what was either perceived by the people or mandated by a supreme governor, was replicated and made into social and cultural acceptance.

With the deviation of the English culture from Protestant to Anglican, the singular monarch became the focus of fashion and also how religion integrated into this. Court mandate becomes religion mandate.

Because of this, we have to thank the future monarchs of England and their acceptance of such things as the Enlightenment, which could allow for a greater perception of the ‘self’ and lead to such wonderful jewels in the Neoclassical period.