The art of arranging these mourning and mementos of love and friendship was a booming industry in the 1800s, France. I've shown a page from a hair artist's catalogue of samples of ways a customer could choose to have their loved one's locks of hair worked. Sometimes the memento was to mark a daughter's departure to a convent, or a little son's first haircut, or a bride's offering to her husband or token to be left behind with her family as she moved away, unsure they'd ever be back. Tokens of love, and also of mourning. The type you see in thsi one, thick elaborate curls, is they type used either to preserve the thick long hair of a young woman who is entering life as a nun and has had her locks shorn, or perhaps a young boy's long hair shorn as he turns about 4-5 and becomes his father's son, a right of passage for a boy. Lastly, it might well be lush thick long hair mourning the loss of a relatively young loved one. Just the word, Souvenir, inside, no mourning iconography like a tomb - I want to think it's the souvenir of a girl becoming a nun, leaving her family and all vanities behind. All worked against an oval of French opaline glass, it is often the case that either the opaline or that deep bombe cover glass sustain damage over time. But this one is splendid.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, no damage to the larger-than-most frame nor to the blown bombe glass. Hanging loop intact and most of the paper backing, too. This one is more stable than almost any we've ever brought back from france, with superbly arranged hair locks firmly attached to the opaline glass backing. The backing hasn't been opened up or I'd open again and clean the little bit of dust from the interior of the glass, and you might with to do so once it's in your collection. BIG at 8 3/8" x 7 1/8" oval. Wood frame.