A rare antique 19th century French mourning hair art memento. Sentimental miniatures, like sentimental jewelry, reached a height of popularity in the late Georgian era / Napoleonic era. Entirely crafted from hair, the superb artistry is evident in the careful placement of the formed and finely chopped hair in shades of blonde and brunette atop a painted 'sky' background. Set under a weeping willow tree is a tomb bearing a monogram of interlaced initials FM, exquisitely formed from hair. The tomb is adorned with a funerary urn embellished with accents and garland drapes. The scene is dimensional with the addition of cypress trees (symbolizing immortality, elevation, hope and mourning) as well as pansy flowers for thoughtfulness and remembrance. A lovely piece, beautifully crafted and the imagery is of superb sentimental quality devoted to a lost loved one. Prong set under convex glass in a gilt metal surround housed in an ebonized wood frame. The reverse with loop ring for hanging display and old paper backing. In good condition with general wear commensurate with age. Frame measures 5" x 4 7/8". Truly a perfect example of mourning artwork, popular in the early 19th century when photography was in its infancy and costly. This item would have been a keepsake intended to exist throughout a lifetime, much the same as a photograph today would be. So popular, specialty shops devoted to this art medium were once throughout Europe, and France, grand fabriques d’ouvrages en cheveux where artistes-dessinateurs spent countless hours expertly working hair commissioned into flowers, curls and braids, and/or rarely sceneries such as this one to memorialize or express devotion.
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Quality Antiques, Sterling Silver, Porcelain & Decorative Arts