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Mourning Brooch
about 1859

The work of the "hair artists"
During the mid-1800s, grieving relatives sometimes wore mourning brooches that incorporated samples of the hair of the deceased. The weeping willow in this small, gold-set brooch is made of human hair, which was glued to a lightweight parchment, dried, and then cut into leaves. The brown "paint" in the scene may also be hair, dissolved in a solvent to form a pigment. Two French Huguenot immigrant brothers, Henri and Emil Moutoux, made this brooch in New York City about 1859. Professional hair workers like the Moutoux brothers were known as "hair artists."

Notes
1-3/8" x 1-1/4"
Web display only

Learn more!
· Mourning customs, 1800s

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