As an example of mourning jewellery, this 1826 locket, containing a lock of hair, reflects the ethos of romanticism and sentimentality which pervaded early nineteenth-century Britain. Sometimes seen as macabre and mawkish, the preservation of the deceased relative’s hair reflects a different sensibility from the modern sanitised view of death. According to Lou Taylor, mourning jewellery in the nineteenth century had three purposes: to be a ‘souvenir’, a reminder of mortality or memento mori and ...
Mourning pendant and case, gold / hairwork / seed pearls / paper / silk / metal, made by John Wilkinson Jeweller & Silversmith, Leeds, England, 1826
Mourning pendant, which has a gold case enclosing an ornamental motif executed in curled hair-work with seed pearls and gold wire on a blue background. Its frame is cast and roses decorate the handle. The pendant loop and border with flowers and leaves is in chased gold relief. The reverse is decorated with engine turning and, in the centre, an oval panel is bordered with chased gold flowers and leaves with the inscription: 'Harriet Bower was born July 8th 1809 died March 15th 1826, Caroline Sophia Bower was born June 23rd 1812 died Jan 9th 1826'. On the red oval case there is a label on the base with the name of the jeweller and silversmith.