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Memento mori, c. 1700-1800

‘Memento mori’ prompted people about the shortness of life and the inevitability of death. The phrase translates from Latin as ‘Remember you must die’. This oval slide, made of glass and silver, is just one of many forms of memento mori. It has the initials E.H. delicately overlaid on either cloth or possibly plaited hair. The slide also features a skeleton surrounded by two angels and an hourglass. Symbols such as these are typically seen on memento mori. Hair taken from the individual being mourned was a common feature of this type of jewellery. It was often woven in delicate and intricate patterns by craftsmen who specialised in this field.

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Glossary: memento mori

Symbols intended to remind the viewer of death. Memento mori are often objects such as skulls or hourglasses, but can also be written inscriptions.

Glossary: mourning

Trial term S&H

Glossary: jewellery

Ornament such as a bracelet, necklace, and ring, of precious or semiprecious material worn or carried on the person for adornment; also includes similar articles worn or carried for devotional or mourning purposes.