Victorian Death Ornaments
Are keepsakes made from the deceased's hair a sweet remembrance or morbid?
Mourning the death of a loved one, especially in Victorian times, was an elaborate affair that often lasted for at least a year, and in the case of Queen Victoria, for her whole life. One of the ways in which the deceased were remembered by the living was to have their hair woven into ornaments such as brooches, framed artwork, earrings, or even elaborate centerpieces kept under glass.
This artwork has always fascinated me, so much so that I included a piece in my latest story, The Old Lace Shop. Hero Edmund Archer is a widower, and while his marriage wasn’t particularly happy, he followed tradition and kept a small piece of his former wife’s hair made into a decoration. It is rather a melancholy thing to put on a shelf, but very fitting for the sort of melancholy life that Edmund leads…that is until feisty Bella White enters the picture.
The rest of the story can be found in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Here’s a blurb:
Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.