Wreath made of hair from family members

Date:
unknown, probably late 19th century
Record:
973.48.2
Materials:
human hair, ribbon and wire

Ten members of the Charters family contributed hair to produce this wreath, made of woven strands. Although we do not know which family member created it, those involved were the husband and wife, their seven offspring and the husband’s brother.

The practice of setting hair into decorative pieces, including elaborate jewelry, was a popular nineteenth century practice, a way of keeping loved ones close. The work takes two forms: palette-worked hair makes a drawing or image out of the hair; table-worked hair involves wrapping it to make a series of loops connected at the bottom by a braid.

This wreath was donated by one of the Charters daughters, Nancy (Charters) Stockland in 1954, just a few years before her death at age 92.

This object selected by Dr. Kathryn Bridge. View Profile »