Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gifts of Grandeur: The Baynes Locket, c. 1775

The Victoria & Albert Museum

A plait of hair from some long-gone beloved has been preserved in this locket since about 1775. In the Eighteenth Century, locks of hair went from being mementos that were hidden away to being the centerpieces of important jewels. Some jewels used the hair or strands of hair as part of the pattern or in a miniature painting. Hair was even used to make sentimental objects. 

This locket with its openwork gold bow, bequeathed to the V&A by Mrs. Isobel Baynes in 1950, was made in England in the late Eighteenth Century. A work of gold, it is set with pearls, emeralds and green pastes (likely replacements). The plait is protected by glass. On the reverse, a painted coronet surmounts a monogram. 

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