A mourning hair art display which includes the post-mortem photo of the little girl who is immortalized and remembered by the arrangement of her locks of chestnut hair. So beautifully crafted and preserved, but for that crack across the old opaline glass backing. I believe it also would have once had a bombe cover glass but now the cover glass is slab/flat, instead. 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. This one is a mourning item, as can be assessed by the inclusion of the tomb in center. Hair art showing an elaborate bouquet of flowers and leaves made of the girls long chestnut hair, her post-mortem photo framed at center of the arrangement. 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 and that is the case with this one. You will note the hairline crack across the opaline glass traversing the top of the old photo. The cover glass is flat, also indicating the old bombe glass is lost to time. This one is splendid and very large as these go, a full 11.75" x 10" oval, the frame is wood. Maker's label on back, "Mlle. Gauclere", founded 1847, and this outlet/location noted in Geneva (Switzerland). All in French on back, of course.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, no damage to the larger-than-most frame nor to the flat cover glass. Hanging loop intact and most of the paper backing, too. Very slight looseness to a few tiny bits of hair inside, but stable enough. The backing hasn't been opened up or I'd open again and more firmly adhere those couple of little locks, and you might with to do so once it's in your collection. HUGE at 11.75" x 10" oval. Wood frame.
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