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."
||1-3/8" x 1-1/4"
||Web display only
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