“Till Death Do Us Part”

Coming up in the next auction are two of the most fabulous mourning brooches.  Estimated at only £200 to £300, it is thought that they attract bidders far and wide who collect these types of pieces.  The mourning brooches which date the Victorian period, are hand painted and each contain a locket of hair from those depicted.  Such a fine pair like this are a remarkable find and this piece of English history could be yours at a very affordable price.

The brooches were made in different years, which is what makes them particularly interesting.  The oldest brooch depicts the man named “John Bartholomew”, who according to the inscription on the back of the brooch died on 30th November 1856.  This is finely painted with exquisite detail.  However, the other brooch is believed to have been the wife of John Bartholomew and bears the initials ‘M.B.’ with the inscription “4th Aug 1863”.

The real attention to detail is depiction of the woman.  The woman appears to be a lady of moderate wealth wearing a bonnet and a matching scarf.  However, she is also dressed in mourning clothes and what is the piece of jewellery she is wearing?  It is the mourning brooch of her husband who died a few years earlier, the very same mourning brooch as the one being sold.  After all these years, both brooches have been kept together and the couple have never been parted.

Lots Road Valuer Edward Rycroft, consigned these brooches in very recently.  Edward commented saying “As soon as I saw them I looked at the detail in the woman, I was astonished by the detail.  Then I realised that the brooch was in fact the very brooch of the man which I had in my hand.”  What a wonderful story that is and something so poignant which captures a period of history in Victorian Britain.  However, the very fact they have stayed together for all these years, is such a lovely story of how despite after their deaths, they are still together and not separated.

Each brooch also has a locket of hair to the backs of the couple which is also decoratively and carefully set behind glass.  The surrounds are gilt metal, thought to be pinchbeck which was commonly used at this period as an alternative to gold.  The detail in the paintings, the frames and the lockets of hair in the backs of each makes these of outstanding quality.  Perhaps, the only issue is that the pins on the backs have been removed so they cannot currently be used as brooches, though that can be sorted relatively easily.

These brooches are being sold as lot 31 in the Fine sale to be held on the 4th July.  Estimated at a conservative £200 to £300, this wonderful piece of history in miniature could be yours very soon.  Perhaps, the only requirement for the successful buyer is that these are kept together for many more years to come and that they are never parted.

If you would like further information regarding the lot or indeed any other lots, please contact Lots Road Auctions on email at info@lotsroad.com or by telephone on 020 7376 6800.

- Edward J. Rycroft

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