This crystal heart, measuring 1 and 1/8 inches North to South, and 7/8 of an inch East to West. It has enamel on the side, and some is missing, but it reads “The Rev Tho Coad, ob 24th of Jan, 1749 AET 52. The scribe “TC” is on one side, and hairwork on both.
Fundamentally, this is an important piece. It relates to the nature of mourning and the perception of the self, as well as the nature of religious integration within English society.
For an Anglican-driven society, this piece shows a heavy influence of humanist and romantic thought. The ‘Georgian Heart’ motif is shown as the surrounding motif (see below for more on this), which relates to the sentimentality of love and the self. Here, for a Reverend, the ‘heart’ is a motif for love, an element that was born into the popular lexicon from the 17th century and here it’s used for a member of the clergy. What is notable is that this is a personal statement, not one that is ordained by the church itself – here, a ‘person’ is showing their grief for a loved one and representing this is in a style that was popular for its time. However, it is essential to this jewel that the correlation between church and state reflected popular fashion, as opposed to modern interpretations of separate movements. The monarch controlled fashion, state and religion.
Furthermore, the initials of the gold cipher show the presentation of the ‘self’ on top of the hairwork. This hairwork was woven in a style that did not show a complete standardisation of table-working, however, the crystal is faceted in a way that reflects its history; this was in production from the 1680s.
As for the heart motif, here you can see the beginnings of the style which we understand as a love motif today and what future generations would interpret this to be.