Six Degrees of Thorvaldsen: The Figure of Night

Here is a re-posting of a piece I wrote for the fabulous site Art of Mourning. This brooch, Nyx, is from the MOLAM collection of yours truly. Although a humble piece, as you will read it is rich in its social & art historical context, and jewellery tradition. Happy reading!

Click here to read the post Six Degrees of Thorvaldsen: The Figure of Night

Nyx (Night) with her two children Sleep and Death, in Vulcanite

For Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

Here is a re-posting of a short piece I wrote for the fabulous site Art of Mourning. This brooch is from the MOLAM collection of yours truly.  Enjoy!

Click here to read the post For Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Memory of My Dear Child

Spoilt For Choice: A Classic Seed Pearl Mourning Ring

Here is a re-posting of a short piece I wrote for the fabulous site Art of Mourning. This delightful mourning ring in its original Rundell and Bridge box is in the  MOLAM collection of yours truly. It’s fine craftsmanship is a delight to see. It also explains my decision making process for this particular piece.

Click here to read the post Spoilt for Choice: decision-making 101 for the collector.

Classic Georgian mourning ring dedicated to a Miss Tylor 1797 and Miss Jane Tylor 1804.

Antique Jewellery Collections: Unmissable Links!

This blog does of course celebrate the collecting desire. Closest to the MOLAM heart is antique jewellery, particularly the field of mourning and sentimental jewellery. Many of our readers are friendly with the Art of Mourning site; the most generous, spectacular and in-depth reference site for aficionados of mourning jewellery. Well, there are some other reference pages that also display a generous spirit in sharing their pieces. Let’s take a look:

Cathy Gordon

Possibly one of the most spectacular collections I’ve had the pleasure of eye-molesting. The collector is knowledgeable in an array of fields, and a noted expert on Miriam Haskell jewellery, but it is her Stuart Crystal and eye miniatures that gets my heart racing!

Things Gone By

This is an online retail space, but there are links to previous sales that prove to be a wealth of reference material. Some glorious pieces here on their Things Gone By Museum page.

Time Dances By

The combination of pugs and mourning jewellery – perfecto! Time Dances By is also generous enough to keep links to previously sold items on their Museum page, these type of archival pages are invaluable research links.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Of course many public institutions have started to list their collections on-line, but the V&A are of an altogether different league for antique jewellery enthusiasts. Prepare to be amazed.

Don Shelton

Don Shelton has an extraordinary blog showcasing his extraordinary collection of portrait miniatures. For jewellery enthusiasts you would know that the traditional portrait miniature crossed over into sentimental and mourning jewellery and you will find much to learn and delight in on this site.

Morning Glory Antiques

Morning Glory is another on-line vintage and antique jewellery store, but it to keeps numerous links to previous sales, as well articles and reference information. There are many links to peruse, but Georgian jewelry, and Victorian jewelry are of particular interest.

Museum of Love and Mortality

What? Who me? Yes, we have a Facebook page which we posted a number of personal collection items onto but then Pinterest came along, so we are slowly posting images on there. Also, included are special items that although not in our collection are ones that we admire and covet!

Do you have other reference sites to recommend? Please do so in the comments section below to share knowledge!

From my own personal collection of mourning jewellery. A lovely mourning miniature, 18th C or early 19th C, dedicated to H.

It continues! Hayes’ show at Dark Horse Experiment has been extended so you still have this week to go and see it. It’s attracted great attendance, media attention, academic interest – not bad for a cancelled show! The gallery is open Wed – Sat 12 – 6 at 110 Franklin St, Melbourne.

Museum of Love and Mortality

In 2004 I helped Cameron Hayes put together a publication to accompany his solo show at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. When I went to deliver some to be stocked at the Arts Bookshop a rather peeved employee there complained: “but you don’t have any information in here about the artist!”

It’s true. I did try, but he refused, genuinely seeing it as erroneous information. “Just show the pictures”, Hayes instructed, “and the only text should be about the stories.” So that’s what we did.  No biography, nor exhibition history, not even a birth date. This time however, I happened to get a bit more out of him. So here goes:

Cameron Hayes is first and foremost a narrative painter. Usually his style of work consists of densely painted large scale canvases filled with figures and scenery, animals and architecture, playing havoc with retinal activity. Have a look at Mathias Ulungura…

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Mourning Rings on Antiques Roadshow

On the US version of Antiques Roadshow they appraised this lovely collection of mourning rings. Aired on April 6, 2009, click on the link and then select which video format you use. A transcript of the appraisal is also available. Very interesting!


A collection of mourning rings appraised on the US Antiques Roadshow April, 2009.



Henry Dove – A Memorial Ring

Mourning ring for Henry Dove. 18ct gold, London, hallmarked for the 1836/1837 period, reappropriated in 1851 and dedicated to Lieutenant Henry Dove RN.

This ring has been in my collection for only a few years. The unique aesthetic character of the ring appealed to me, but it wasn’t until Hayden Peters wrote this analysis of it that I understood what I was responding to. I hope you enjoy Hayden’s article from his Art of Mourning site.

Click here to read about the Henry Dove ring.

From the Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Leslie Stephen and published in 1888 we learn: The Doves are a Surrey family, with generations serving in the Navy. Lieutenant Henry Dove RN was married to Christiana Paterson, who gave birth to their son Patrick Edward Dove (1815 – 1873)a “philosophic writer”of some renown on the 31 July 1815 in Lasswade, near Edinburgh. An ancestor of Henry Dove was William, son of Thomas Dove, bishop of Peterborough. They had been settled in Devonshire since 1716 when Francis Dove, Commodore RNwas appointed Commissioner of the Navy in Plymouth.

Henry Dove retired from active service upon the peace of 1815, and held an appointment at Deal connected with the Cinque Ports. Henry Dove did not allow his son Patrick Edward to “follow his own ardent desire for naval service.” Instead, Patrick Edward went on to be educated in France and England but was expelled from school after leading a “rebellion” against the headmaster. Patrick Edward went on to study farming in Scotland and philosophy! Although there seems to be more information available about his son rather than Henry Dove, it still builds a portrait of a family. Upon Patrick Edward’s death a Professor J. S. Blackie wrote: “he combined in a remarkable degree the manly directness of the man of action with the fine speculation of the man of thought. Altogether, Mr Dove dwells in my mind as one of the most perfect types of the manly thinker whom I have met in the course of a long life.”  And when Patrick Edward died in 1873 he left behind a widow, and 3 of Henry’s grandchildren – a son and two daughters. Fortunately we have an image of a portrait of Henry Dove which appears in Hayden’s article above. However, there is also somewhere out there a portrait of Henry’s son – a “sketch by his friend Mr Seymour Haden”. I presume this is likely to be Francis Seymour Haden, prominent surgeon and etcher, who married the sister of the artist James Whistler. How extraordinarily interesting!

A photo of Seymour Haden from Wikipedia and the public domain.