During the first half of the 19th century, hairwork was a popular way to both mourn the dead and to commemorate friendships and family connections with the living. A largely female workforce specialised in preparing hair for brooches, pendants, and bracelets. In some cases hair from two or more individuals was braided together, in others the hair was arranged decoratively or used to create elaborate sentimental images. This is a particularly nice example of the art, mounted in 14-18k gold and dating from the first decades of the 19th century. The hair clipping has been fanned and curled into an elegant wave shape with a tiny seed pearl “clasp” at the base, and the reverse is monogrammed “AB”.
Britain, early 19th century.
Rectangular brooch in gold with scrolling foliate surround, the woven hair and seed pearl panel glazed, engraved monogram “AB” to the reverse. 2.5 x 1.5 cm. All original. Localised scratches to the reverse, minor wear commensurate with age. Very good condition.
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