Collecting 03.01.2016
Gold mourning ring enamelled in black and white. The shaped rectangular bezel, with a willow tree reserved on white enamel with a small glazed locket containing hair. Inscribed behind Anna/ Seward./ Ob. 25 March, 1809.' Aet. 66.

Mourning Jewellery in White

With its absence of light and its embodiment of the mystery of the unknown, black is the accepted primary colour…

Collecting 10.12.2015
Photograph of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) with Empress Frederick (1840-1901) both wearing black in mourning holding a photograph of Emperor Frederick III who died in June 1888

Mourning Jewels: How They Were Worn, Part 2

The wearing of 18th century mourning jewelry set the template for numerous revivals through to the 20th century. The 19th century was the catalyst…

Collecting 03.12.2015
Full-length portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), standing in mourning costume, with the Royal Arms of Scotland behind; she holds a crucifix in her right hand, a prayer-book in her left, and wears a cross and rosary; behind her are her two ladies; left a scene of her execution

Mourning Jewels: How They Were Worn, Part 1

A question as simple as ‘how was a jewel worn?’ leads to the most complex of answers. The narrative of…

Textiles 16.11.2014
Object Type  Painted panels depicting family members with the symbols of birth, death and marriage were a common way of commemorating significant rites of passage. They acted as reminders to the living of their own mortality and were often handed down through later generations as heirlooms. The folding panels in this example emphasise the intimate nature of the object.  Subjects Depicted  The panels include several references to the passing of time and the fragility of life, as well as the events of marriage and death. On the left exterior panel are figures representing youth and age. On the right are two inscriptions, each incorporating a visual pun or 'rebus', in which a picture or figure represents a name, word or phrase. Here Christ is represented by a painted figure and the clock dial completes the inscription 'We Must' by representing the words 'Die All'.  Dress  Henry and Dorothy Holme are dressed in the style of the well-to-do merchant class rather than the height of fashion. While their garments are quite plain they could clearly afford the luxury of lace accessories. Henry's ruff and cuffs are trimmed with fine imported needle lace. His wife's are trimmed with bobbin lace of a typically English pattern. Broad-brimmed beaver hats, such as Dorothy wears, were popular with country gentlewomen and women of the merchant class.  Costume provides a clue to the sex of the children in this portrait. Boys up to the age of about 7 were dressed like little girls, wearing skirts known as petticoats. To differentiate them from girls the bodice part of their costume took the form of a man's doublet. Little girls typically wore an embroidered cap, or 'coif', and an apron with a bib. Long narrow strips of fabric known as leading strings are attached to both the children's sleeves. These were used to guide children as they learned to walk.

A Mourning Tour: Children in Mourning

A child in mourning is the ultimate symbol of family grief. The child is what carries forward a memory and…

Brooches 25.10.2014
Butterfly mourning brooch, sardonyx cameo “Henry James Esqr died /13th Nov 1839 in his 80th Year”

Butterfly Symbols and 19th Century Jewellery

As with all symbols, there aren’t simple explanations for them when they transcend one culture or time. Organic symbols have…

Textiles 08.09.2014
Object Type  Painted panels depicting family members with the symbols of birth, death and marriage were a common way of commemorating significant rites of passage. They acted as reminders to the living of their own mortality and were often handed down through later generations as heirlooms. The folding panels in this example emphasise the intimate nature of the object.  Subjects Depicted  The panels include several references to the passing of time and the fragility of life, as well as the events of marriage and death. On the left exterior panel are figures representing youth and age. On the right are two inscriptions, each incorporating a visual pun or 'rebus', in which a picture or figure represents a name, word or phrase. Here Christ is represented by a painted figure and the clock dial completes the inscription 'We Must' by representing the words 'Die All'.  Dress  Henry and Dorothy Holme are dressed in the style of the well-to-do merchant class rather than the height of fashion. While their garments are quite plain they could clearly afford the luxury of lace accessories. Henry's ruff and cuffs are trimmed with fine imported needle lace. His wife's are trimmed with bobbin lace of a typically English pattern. Broad-brimmed beaver hats, such as Dorothy wears, were popular with country gentlewomen and women of the merchant class.  Costume provides a clue to the sex of the children in this portrait. Boys up to the age of about 7 were dressed like little girls, wearing skirts known as petticoats. To differentiate them from girls the bodice part of their costume took the form of a man's doublet. Little girls typically wore an embroidered cap, or 'coif', and an apron with a bib. Long narrow strips of fabric known as leading strings are attached to both the children's sleeves. These were used to guide children as they learned to walk.

Children in Mourning

A child in mourning is the ultimate symbol of family grief. The child is what carries forward a memory and…

Miniatures 01.09.2011
18th Century Mourning MIniature with Contemporary Woman

Property of a Lady: 18th Century Costume, Mourning and Art in a Neoclassical Miniature

Because we’re revisiting some fashion this week, let’s take another look at this spectacular miniature: Let me begin today’s lesson…

Miniatures 12.10.2010
18th Century Mourning MIniature with Contemporary Woman

Property of a Lady: 18th Century Costume, Mourning and Art in a Neoclassical Miniature

This piece is pained on ivory, measured 1.75 (4.3cm) by 2.25 (6.8cm) inches (loop excluded), set in rose gold. We have a young woman looking up to the cherub carrying the scroll with the writing ‘TO BLISS’, behind her is the willow (gief) and to the distance are the cypress trees pointing their way towards the heavens. In front, we have urn resting on a plinth with ‘SACRED TO THE BEST OF FRIENDS’. All this is painted in hushed sepia tones, except for the cherub and female. On the reverse, we have tightly woven hairwork.

Collecting 05.10.2010

Stunning References in the KCI Digital Archives

I promised some ephemera and that’s on the way soon, but in the meantime, have a look at the amazing…

Accessories 03.05.2010
Question

Accessories?

I often get asked the question about memorial and sentimental accessories. What is the definition of this? Well, that’s largely…