Mourning Pendant for the Potts Family, 1797

Summary

Before the 20th century, death came early and often. One way people coped was to wear jewelry as memorials to their loved ones. Over the centuries, mourning jewelry followed the prevailing fashions. Shortly after independence, Americans favored illuminated, miniature brooches and pendants painted on ivory. These featured shapes derived from classical design, symbols such as urns and weeping women dressed as ancient Romans.

Before the 20th century, death came early and often. One way people coped was to wear jewelry as memorials to their loved ones. Over the centuries, mourning jewelry followed the prevailing fashions. Shortly after independence, Americans favored illuminated, miniature brooches and pendants painted on ivory. These featured shapes derived from classical design, symbols such as urns and weeping women dressed as ancient Romans.

Artifact

Pendant (Jewelry)

Date Made

1797

Subject Date

1779-1797

Creators

Unknown

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

61.151.37

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Gold (Metal)
Glass (Material)
Human hair

Technique

Hairwork

Dimensions

Height: 2.25 in

Width: 1.625 in

Inscriptions

obverse, engraved: W.R. Potts. Ob. 28. August. 1779. Aged. 19. Months. Eliza. Potts. Ob. 19 Novr. 1789. Aged 32 verso, engraved: Benjamin. Potts. Ob. 2. February. 1797. Aged. 3. Years. 11 Months. 18. Days.

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