Photography 16.12.2016

Jewels, Memory and Photography

Despite the title of this dissertation in mourning and sentimental jewellery being ‘Art of Mourning’, the primary message of the…

Collecting 13.01.2016
This painted enamel portrait miniature in a gilt metal frame bears a bust portrait of a lady of the French court. She has green eyes and light brown hair and wears white mourning dress. Opinion differs as to her precise identity. The decorative border of interlinked knotted blue S-scrolls surrounding her may give a clue as to who she might be, as may the choice of subject depicted on the back of the medallion. The back is delicately painted in gold with the subject of Moses receiving the tablets of the law from the Old Testament book of Exodus. Sixteenth-century portrait miniatures had their origins in the art of manuscript illumination and were usually painted in watercolour on vellum. The earliest extant painted enamel medallion is probably Netherlandish and can be dated to about 1425. This miniature was however made in Limoges, central France, a town already famed for its earlier champlevé enamel production. Painted enamels, made in Limoges from 1460s, reached an artistic and technical high-point during the sixteenth century. The work was highly-skilled and time-consuming which means that a well-executed portrait medallion such as this was an expensive luxury item made to commission. Though unsigned, the miniature is now considered to have been painted by the skilled Limoges artist Leonard Limosin (c.1505 to c.1575/77) in about 1530-40, at the start of his long career. Limosin is thought to have trained in the Penicaud workshop, and the medallion has previously been attributed to Jean II Penicaud, a known exponent of detailed gold painting. In about 1534, Limosin was invited to the court of Francois I and subsequently divided his time between the court at Fontainebleau and his workshop in Limoges. He later also served Henri II, Francois II and Charles IX. Before 1842, this enamel was owned by the well-known collector, Horace Walpole who claimed that it had once belonged to the mother of King George I, Princess Sophia Maria, Duchess of Hanover (d.1714).

Mourning Fashion in White

The affectation of white in mourning is ubiquitous, and appears throughout the world in funerary and mourning customs. White, the…

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…

Memories 04.05.2015
Pendant, gold, set with a cameo under crystal of George I, England, about 1715

Mourning Fashion & Jewels During George I & II

Between 1714 and 1760, the monarchy under George I and George II created a stable and viable mourning industry that…

Collecting 24.11.2014
Richard Redgrave, 1846, "Throwing Off Her Weed"

A  Guide to the Stages of Mourning

Grief is automatically triggered by loss as part of our psychological construction. Mourning, in its most pure form, is a…

Memories 17.11.2014
Brooch in gold and enamel in the form of an enamelled ER VII monogram with a red and green enamelled crown. The crown and the letter R are set with diamonds.

A Mourning Tour: Decline of Mourning

The decline and disappearance of the mourning industry does not have one simple answer. It is a mix of cultural…

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…

Memories 15.09.2014
Brooch in gold and enamel in the form of an enamelled ER VII monogram with a red and green enamelled crown. The crown and the letter R are set with diamonds.

Decline of Mourning

The decline and disappearance of the mourning industry does not have one simple answer. It is a mix of cultural…

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…

Art 16.06.2014
French Hair Mourning Art from the 19th Century

French Hair Art & The Industry of Mourning

“Hair is at once the most delicate and lasting of our materials and survives us like love. It is so…

Accessories 26.05.2014
Mourning Stickpin With Coffin and Male, c.1780

A Coffin & A Male In A Stickpin. 18th Century

Creating the connection between mortality and fashion in historical jewels often leads to the literal interpretation. While many historical jewels…

Memories 25.03.2013

“Anatomy: Soul” – Modern Mourning and Burial Garb

For all of the Mourners living in Australia, tomorrow is your chance to see a wonderful program entitled Anatomy: Soul…

Miniatures 19.11.2012
Neoclassical, Miniature, Georgian, 18th Century, Woman, Symbolism,

Idyllic Sentimental Neoclassical Miniature

Here, we have a radiance of symbolism, infused into the Neoclassical miniature; a confluence of symbolism that is encapsulated within…

Miniatures 07.11.2012
Don Shelton Mourning Miniature

Willow, Woman, Plinth and Urn is Miniature Perfection

Combining the elements of the willow, woman, plinth and urn are not uncommon in mourning jewellery, however, this piece also…

Textiles 30.08.2011

Knowing Your Fashion, Mourning Fashion in the 17th-19th Centuries

Often, it’s the simplest things that help us understand a time, place or even a piece of jewellery. Jewellery in…

Textiles 26.08.2011

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow

Once in a while a man comes into your life and things just seem better somehow. I don’t know his…

Collecting 26.05.2011

Vintage Clothing, Jewellery & Textiles Show

I make no apologies for my love of antique/vintage costume, I grew up with costumiers and if it wasn’t for…