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Mourning Pin for ER

late 18th - early 19th century Unidentified watercolor on ivory image (oval): 1 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (3.8 x 2.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Mary Elizabeth Spencer 1999.27.83 Not currently on view


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Miniature paintings memorializing a friend or family member grew popular in the nineteenth century when the death of Prince Albert sent Queen Victoria into deep mourning. A name and death date on a locket, pin, or ring marked the passing of a loved one, and artists sometimes mixed a lock of the deceased person’s hair in with the pigment. The paintings often showed the bereaved person next to a tomb or cinerary urn, as in Mourning Locket for A. R. and Mourning Ring, and sometimes included symbols of grieving such as a dove or weeping willow.

Keywords

Animal - sheep

Figure female - full length

Landscape - tree

Primitive - mourning

Recreation - leisure - letter reading and writing

State of being - emotion - sorrow

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor

ivory