Monday, May 26, 2014

Mastery of Design: A Memorial Locket, c. 1780

Memorial Locket
England, 1780
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in Britain around 1780, this memorial locket of engraved gold is set with an ivory miniature painted in watercolor. It depicts a woman alone in a landscape.

Such memorial jewelry rose in prominence starting in 1760. Most pieces contain a memento of the deceased—usually a lock of hair, and they almost certainly show the name and date of death of the person who has passed. This example, however, is missing the name of the deceased. It appears that the original glass backing which would have contained the lock of hair, and, possibly the inscription, was replaced with a different color gold at a later date.

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