The mourning icon you see here dates 1885, dedication on the cross (made of hair, also) tells us it is the souvenir locks of Maria-Beuscart, who died at Wattrelos on 11, October, 1885 at the age of just 26 years.. It's made more in line with the late 1800s hair art icons, a bombe cover glass and mourning iconography to include a tombstone in shape of a cross, the little flower beside it blooming to evoke life everlasting. The word, "regrets" is rather unusual on these. One has to wonder about the story of this young woman. I did look up Wattrelos, France, 1885 to see if any epidemic occurred, but found nothing. Perhaps childbirth? The lock of hair a brunette. Remember no photography before 1838, when Daguerre developed the very first method of photography, and for the most part, no popular photography until later 1860s and beyond. For many, even by 1885, a lock of hair would have been very likely the only remnant and memento of the person who died. The icons in this one include a moon, the reference to celestial destination; seed pearls which represent the tears of the mourner.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. Frame shows some surface disruption, more than most of this era. The old bombe cover glass is not broken, no cracks. There are a few hair strands floating, but the main locks of hair artistry are all intact. It appears a newer backing has been applied to this one, perhaps having been opened at some point to clean the glass, which is quite nice (glares on glass are camera lights). Slight loss to white painted back on the glass to which the hair is adhered. Measurements noted on the photos, it is large at 8.25" (plus bale) x 7.25" and is .75" thick overall. Frame and piece in total are quite elegant, still.
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Antique French 8.5" Hair Art Memento, Mourning Memorial Tomb, Cross, 26-Yr Old, c1885
$372 $495 SALE