Antique French Mourning Hair Art Memento, Dog, Tomb, Miniature Portrait
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. 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 on a painted sky background. The scene centers around a tomb, surrounded by a floral garland with a dove above. Guarding the tomb is a loyal dog, a symbol of eternal fidelity and loyalty. Rarely seen in mourning hair art is imagery of the dog, very difficult to find and highly sought after. To the left is a cartouche, bearing a monogram of interlaced initials BB, or perhaps AB, with a white dove above. All set under the branches of a weeping willow tree. A lovely piece, beautifully crafted and the imagery is of superb sentimental quality devoted to a lost loved one. Encased protectively under a convex / dome glass. Having a decorative gilded brass or bronze metal surround and housed within a wooden frame. In good condition with general wear commensurate with age. Frame measures 4 7/8" x 4 3/4". The portrait measures 2 1/4" diameter (sight). 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 tothis 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 to memorialize or express devotion.