Hello again, my friends!
Today, I’d like to share with you yet another piece of authentic, Victorian hair art from my personal collection and use it as a way to introduce you to a hair art technique we’ve not yet discussed.
What I love about antiques is that even after extensive research, you can always learn more from personal collecting, and often when you least expect it. For example; several months back, while perusing a new antique mall/gas station, (yes you can find treasures anywhere!) I found this one amazing piece after over an hour of looking through what appeared to be junk.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure if there’s a word for this technique. Before I purchased this piece, I’d never seen one quite like it, and I’ve only seen a handful of them since. For now, at least until my research tells me otherwise, I will be calling them portraits.
The portraits I’ve seen vary in size, color, and how much of the body is shown. The commonalities I’ve found between each of them I’ve encountered is that they are all women, their clothing is real fabric, they are all holding bouquets made of lace, and the hair used is real hair. Also, in many of them, the woman depicted is wearing a bonnet.
As usual, information on hair art is scarce, and this seems to be a less common type of hair art. I cannot at this time tell you definitive facts, but I can tell you the possible conclusions I’ve drawn from experience in hair art and Victorian research. Victorians were very sentimental with the possessions of the ones they loved. Even in hair wreaths, they often would incorporate some beads or buttons from the clothing of the one they were commemorating. My guess is that the fabric and lace used in these portraits were cut from actual garments worn by the person to whom the hair belonged.
This is not necessarily to say that these portraits were used for mourning. Given the small amount of hair that was used, it could even mean that it was cut from a child, and it was purely a form of picture to hang to represent their children for those who did not have access to photography.
As it is always fun to speculate, I certainly hope to learn more about this technique. I’ve also begun making similar portraits which will be for sale soon. One thing, however, is certain: you never know what treasures you’ll find and secrets you’ll uncover when you have a job like mine!