A remembrance piece such as this brooch is representative of mourning jewelry worn during the early nineteenth century. Death rituals were an important part of family life, and they were marked by women wearing mourning clothes as well as mourning jewelry after an acceptable period of time during the extended mourning period. The weeping willow that is depicted in this scene was a popular mourning motif in the nineteenth century.
This brooch dating from 1800-1820 is oval shape with an elaborate gold loop for hanging. Gold metal forms the border on the front with a central plaque painted with a mourning scene of a woman and child by a tomb, marked with the words "Rest in Peace." A weeping willow hangs over an urn that rests on top of the tomb. The plaque is covered with convex glass. The plain gold back is engraved with the initials "EMW" at the center. The brooch measures 3 ½ inches by 2 1/4 inches overall.
This brooch was a favorite family piece of the donor's. The initials on the back of the piece were of an unknown ancestor.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.