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Mourning brooch with plaited hair

Image attached to M.16-2000

An image of Jewellery. Mourning brooch. Unknown maker, probably Ireland or England. Rectangular brooch, with a gold outer frame that has round corners and raised cusped and scalloped edges, with, in the centre, a rectangular compartment containing inter-woven blonde hair under glass, mounted in a plain gold rub-over setting, surrounded by a foliated gold frame. Between the outer and inner frames, the flat area of the brooch is enamelled onto a copper alloy plate in a translucent dark blue enamel that optically appears opaque black, and bears a gilt flower head at one end, the gothic initials MD at the opposite end, and, on the two long sides, the gothic initials RD, DI? and J?N?, MT? respectively. The gold back-plate is engraved 'Matilda/Obit 17th Feby/1842'. Brooch-pin fastening on the back: silver alloy or nickel-silver catch-plate and hinge-plate with a copper alloy (probably copper) pin. The lower quality of the fastening and excess solder around the hinge-plate suggest the pin is a replacement or later addition. The hinge plate partly covers an indentation in the gold back-plate that may relate to an earlier fitting. Gold ring with black enamel decorated with gilding, containing plaited hair under glass, width, whole, 2.6 cm, length, whole, 3.2 cm, circa 1842. Notes: The brooch belonged to Matilda Barnes (1829-1914), née Armstrong, who was born and brought up in Ireland but lived in England after her marriage to the donor's late husband's grandfather. The inscription does not refer to a member of the family.

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About this image

Jewellery. Mourning brooch. Unknown maker, probably Ireland or England. Rectangular brooch, with a gold outer frame that has round corners and raised cusped and scalloped edges, with, in the centre, a rectangular compartment containing inter-woven blonde hair under glass, mounted in a plain gold rub-over setting, surrounded by a foliated gold frame. Between the outer and inner frames, the flat area of the brooch is enamelled onto a copper alloy plate in a translucent dark blue enamel that optically appears opaque black, and bears a gilt flower head at one end, the gothic initials MD at the opposite end, and, on the two long sides, the gothic initials RD, DI? and J?N?, MT? respectively. The gold back-plate is engraved 'Matilda/Obit 17th Feby/1842'. Brooch-pin fastening on the back: silver alloy or nickel-silver catch-plate and hinge-plate with a copper alloy (probably copper) pin. The lower quality of the fastening and excess solder around the hinge-plate suggest the pin is a replacement or later addition. The hinge plate partly covers an indentation in the gold back-plate that may relate to an earlier fitting. Gold ring with black enamel decorated with gilding, containing plaited hair under glass, width, whole, 2.6 cm, length, whole, 3.2 cm, circa 1842. Notes: The brooch belonged to Matilda Barnes (1829-1914), née Armstrong, who was born and brought up in Ireland but lived in England after her marriage to the donor's late husband's grandfather. The inscription does not refer to a member of the family.

Image data

  • Accession Number: M.16-2000
  • Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
  • Aperture: f/22.0
  • Focal length: 120
  • Camera: Hasselblad H3DII-31
  • Photographer name: Amy Jugg
  • Image height: 1025 pixels
  • Image width: 885 pixels
  • Processed with: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.4 (Windows)
  • Filesize: 570.70kB
  • Exposure time: 1/60
  • ISO Speed: 200
  • Fnumber: 22/1

Key words

19th Century black blonde braided brooch enamel enamelled English Fitz_AA gilded gilding gilt gold hair initial initialled initials Irish jewellery mourning brooch plaited plaits pleated scalloped scalloped edge Victorian

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