Collection online

pendant / locket

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1978,1002.1202

  • Description

    Heart shaped pendant locket with a lock of hair, traditionally said to be that of Marie Antoinette, set under glass or rock-crystal with an inscribed card and mounted in a gold filigree setting. A small gold padlock is suspended from the base with a key on a chain attached to the suspension loop. The filigree in the form of tight spiral discs forming 'spectacles' shapes, placed within the flat wire rim.

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  • Date

    • late 18thC - early 19thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 4.65 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        on a card inside
      • Inscription Language

        English
      • Inscription Content

        A lock of hair of MARIE ANTOINETTE, Queen of FRANCE given by her to Lady Abercorn by whom it was given to her sister Lady Julia Lockwood, whose daughter Lady Napier gave it to W.S. 1853
      • Inscription Comment

        The inscription is wrongly transcribed in the catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift: Lady Abercorn is given as Lady Abercrombie.
  • Curator's comments

    Text from the catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no. 579:
    If this blonde lock of hair is indeed that of Marie Antoinette it must have been presented before the abortive flight to Varennes in 1791, when the King and Queen tried to escape from France. Marie Antoinette's hair went white overnight, and on her return to Paris she presented a ring to the Princesse de Lamballe containing a lock of her hair which was inscribed 'Blanchis par la douleur (whitened by sorrow; see Campan 1833). The ring is now in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris. (C.Gere)

    Information supplementary to Hull Grundy Catalogue:
    Although the locket itself appears to be of late 18th or early 19th century date, the locket has no provenance prior to its acquisition by Mrs Hull Grundy. The slip of paper could have been added at any point after 1853 and thus there is no evidence to confirm that it refers to the hair contained in the locket.
    For miniature padlocks and keys, often hung from chains, on small sentimental jewels of around 1800, see 1978,1002. 175, 459 and 612. For a cravat pin described as late 18th century with miniature portrait contained in a shield-shaped locket with miniature padlock below and a key on a chain, see A.M. Claessens-Peré (ed.), Van haarnaaald tot schoengesp. Accessoires in goud en zilver', Sterckshof Studies 44, Zilver Museum Sterckshof 2011, cat. 78, p. 130.

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  • Bibliography

    • Gere et al 1984 579 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1978,1002.1202

Heart shaped pendant locket with the hair of Marie Antoinette set under glass or rock-crystal with an inscribed card and mounted in a gold filigree frame. A small gold padlock is suspended from the base with a key on a chain attached to the suspension loop.

Heart shaped pendant locket with the hair of Marie Antoinette set under glass or rock-crystal with an inscribed card and mounted in a gold filigree frame. A small gold padlock is suspended from the base with a key on a chain attached to the suspension loop.

Image description

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Object reference number: MCT3917

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