While touring an old house this summer, House Crazy Sarah came across some framed Victorian hair art, and of course, she had to do a post on this fascinating concept!
Look at the detail!
The Victorians were known to be detail-oriented and they had a love of all things ornate, and shall we say, macabre.
But hairwork, or jewelry or artwork made of human hair, has actually been around since the Middle Ages.
Hair was considered to be a remnant of the person it was cut from – and was often kept as a memento of loved ones who passed. What better way to utilize that hair than to shape it into something aesthetically pleasing?
Although hairwork existed long before the Victorian era, it was this particular period that saw it flourish as a craft in the form of mourning jewelry such as lockets, rings, and bracelets.
Victorians were known to be obsessed with several things, predominant among them were: death, hair, and a grand excess of ornament.
So it makes sense that these three elements were incorporated to produce intricate and elaborate artistic displays.
Hairwork was actually a common skill taught to young women in the Victorian age, much in the way that needlework was taught.
Some works of hair even depicted nature scenes or mourning scenes… or a combination of both.
Three-dimensional designs were popular as well.
Another common practice was to incorporate a photo of the deceased into the hairwork.
Unlike many other natural materials, human hair does not decay with the passing of time, so many of these specimens survive to this day.
In her research for this post, House Crazy Sarah discovered that hair has chemical qualities that enable it to last for hundreds, even thousands, of years!
And hair art was not just for the ladies, y’all.
Men also got in on the hair decor action.
Whole families were even memorialized with/in hair art.
It’s kind of a family tree – made with hair.
So what’s your verdict….
Victorian hair art – beautiful or just plain weird?
I have seen some hair art pieces before. It is very interesting. The work is done in such fine detail. Nice post.
“Victorian hair art – beautiful or just plain weird?” – a little of both!