Essential Reading / Books for the Collector Part 1

December 23, 2010

Over at my website Art of Mourning, I’ve got a reasonably comprehensive list of the essential books to buy if you like the old jewellery and I’ll repost them here with some brief thoughts:

Bell, Jeanenne., Collector’s Encyclopedia of Hairwork Jewellery, 1998, Collector Books (Amazon)
Bell’s book on hairwork jewellery is a nice overview of the form and gives many random facts, I feel that it’s a necessary book to have for references (especially with the catalogues in the back) and her knowledge of hair weaves really comes in handy when you’re evaluating pieces. Her writing doesn’t discuss much about the historical context of the pieces or the references, but it is a nice collection of facts.

Burke, L., The Illustrated Language of Flowers, 1856, A. Routledge & Co.
Rather essential if you’re keen on learning all about the classification of sentimental symbolism. Also helpful if you’re an art critique, as the symbolism was quite transient across mediums.

Burns, Stanley., Sleeping Beauty Memorial Photography in America, 1990, Twelvetrees Press
An absolutely wonderful overlook of its time and subject. Burns quite rightly narrows his gaze to American photography and really excels at an academic and also entertaining view of photography (for the layman and scholar).

Bury, Shirley., An Introduction to Sentimental Jewellery, 1985, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (Amazon)
Bury is one of the foremost writers and academics on the subject of sentimental jewellery and even this quick introduction to sentimental jewellery puts anything I’ve ever written to shame. She has a wonderful way of knowing her subject, balancing it with its time and giving it perfect historical context in relation to other jewellery, culture and society. Magnificent!

Campbell, Mark. (Kliot, J & K, ed)., The Art of Hairwork Hair Braiding and Jewelry of Sentiment with Catalog of Hair Jewellery, 1989, Lacis Publications
You probably shouldn’t be reading this site if you haven’t got a copy, downloaded a copy or at least have seen pages copied in other books.

A great look into not only the hairweaving process, but the industry and society of the time.

This book is also a wonderful reference for your hairwork jewellery – matching your pieces to the book will give you a very good insight into how they were constructed.

Coombs, Katherine., The Portrait Miniature in England, 1998. V&A Publications (Amazon)
This book gets into the depth of the miniature portrait and also is very approachable. If you want to look at miniatures and their relation to society and other jewellery, go get it. In another post, you’ll see a beautiful companion to this book based purely on American miniature portraits (more on that another day), so if you have this book, you’ve got a wonderful overview of early modern portraits. For those who just like a good picture, beautiful images abound!

Cooper, D., Battershill, N., Victorian Sentimental Jewellery, 1972, David & Charles LTD (Amazon)
Cooper’s approach to sentimental jewellery is also a nice overview of sentimental jewellery and it’s wisely focused directly upon Victorian. This book doesn’t aim too board, so it can focus upon the many different variations of Victorian jewellery and its symbolism. A great reference if you were wonderful what peripheral symbols were in Victorian jewellery and their inception. This covers jet and everything in between.

DeLorme, Maureen., Mourning Art and Jewelry, 2004, Schiffer Publishing (Amazon)
DeLorme’s views on peripheral funeralia are wonderful and a joy to read. This is very much for the new collector and also a good reference for the veteran. Her approach, while global in intent, exceeds at giving an American perspective. Great references, images and more! Go get it if you haven’t.

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