Scarce Antique Georgian French Sentimental Mourning Hair Art Miniature Portrait
Exceptional antique French hair art mourning memento portrait. Sentimental miniatures, like sentimental jewelry, reached a height of popularity in the late Georgian era / French Restoration period. Entirely crafted from hair of a loved one, the superb artistry is evident in the careful arrangement of the formed and finely chopped hair in shades of blonde and brunette atop a painted 'sky' background. This portrait represents a most tender scene, portraying a mother and father at the tomb of their child. The tomb is opened, releasing a bird (or dove) to welcoming angels up above. The epitaph is surrounded by flowers, and features a beautiful written inscription of "un jour au ciel vous viendrez me rejoindre", meaning you will join me in heaven one day. In the background is a weeping willow tree as it 'weeps' above the tomb, a symbol of grief and sorrow, flanked by cypress trees. 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. The scene is in good condition with general wear. Encased protectively under a convex / dome glass. Prong set in a decorative gilded metal surround. Measures 4 7/8" diameter.