A large antique French Napoleon III era sentimental hair artwork mourning memento. Entirely crafted from hair as a lasting memento of a lost loved one. The superb artistry is evident in the careful placement of the formed and finely chopped hair in shades of brunette atop a glass panel. The motif is raised, giving a 3D effect, and stunning in its composition and craftsmanship. Crafted to resemble clusters of flowers, including pansies (symbolizing remembrance). Surrounding initials I.A. and dated December 2nd 1895. Set under a large domed convex glass and housed within an ebonized wooden frame with brass surround. In overall good antique condition with some wear to the wooden frame with a couple of old worm holes. No damage to the large domed glass covering. To the reverse is an old paper backing and a brass loop ring for hanging display. A large piece, the oval frame measures 12" height x 10 1/8" width. The tradition of keeping locks of a loved one’s hair might seem a bit of a macabre curiosity, but this novelty was actually quite popular and precious at a time when photography was costly. Specialized shops devoted to this art medium throughout Europe, and France, grand fabriques d’ouvrages en cheveux where artistes-dessinateurs spent countless hours expertly working hair commissioned into flowers, curls, ribbons, as is the case here. Others showcase hair worked into sceneries to memorialize, or express devotion and love. Artists were also quite skilled in taking a lock of hair to be woven as jewelry adornments, perhaps the most popular form of Victorian mourning jewelry.
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