|Victorian Hair Artists Guild|
Sepia painting is a picture painted in brown tones (sepia), in which the paint was made of finely chopped hair. These pictures were almost always of a scenic nature. The mourning pieces, often times were depicted with a lady in classical attire as in the brooch shown above. Most of the painting are done on ivory or glass. Many times the fine lines were done with India ink and then the hair was used as embellishment. Some are entirely hair.
Sepia painted jewelry became popular in the 1700's if not earlier
and was still being
made in the 1800's. Most popular of the mourning sepia
were the scenes in a cemetery, almost all of them incorporated a
a weeping willow or other tree which was embellished with hair.
pieces are usually quite small, around 1" in length, the pin running
upright instead of horizontally. There were also rings made with
Most of these pictures are around 4" - 5" in diameter. Most of the pictures are of scenery and almost always include trees, sometimes a castle, and frequently a cemetery scene.
The most finely executed pieces of sepia painting appear to come from France. Other pieces are known to have been done in England and the United States.
Symbolism was important to the Victorians and they incorporated a lot of symbolism in the sepia paintings. The picture above has the two hearts together which indicate a husband and wife, birds, which is the eternal life, the dog indicates the fidelity of the surviving spouse, and the flowers on each side of the stone are forget me nots. The initials of the deceased on on the tombstone, and the evergreen trees represent everlasting.
Antique Sepia Picture Courtesy of Darlene at Things Gone By
|© 2000 2010 Victorian Hair Artists Guild.|