Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Death in the Victorian Era part 10: Mourning Cards

Death in the Victorian Era part 10: Mourning Cards
A tradition that has stayed with us from the Victorian Era, although somewhat altered and modernised is the Mourning Card.

Traditionally, Mourning Cards were supplied by the Undertaker. The card was usually printed black and silver on a white background, but depending on the status of the person, they could become quite ornate, with some examples having inset photos.
 Most would feature traditional grief symbology, crosses, a female mourner or one of the many other symbols that reminded the reader of death.
The card featured the name of the deceased, sometimes their birth-date and details about the funeral. They were a standard size of around 3 by 4.5 inches.  On occasion they might be sent out to those who could not attend the funeral, as a reminder of the person, and to remind the viewer to add the recently deceased to their prayers.

 As Mourning Cards became ever more popular, their appearance became more intricate, with some containing gold embossing, poems, prayers, artworks or photos of the deceased. Cards belonging to direct family members might’ve also contained a lock of the deceased’s hair or a button from their clothing. The card and the lock of hair would then be presented in the home in a special frame, or sometimes an elaborate mourning card stand

By the 1900’s the cards had become much simpler, and with the modern advent of printing technology, today we see cards that feature photos, prayers, funeral details and so much more in high gloss print, but nothing we do today, comes close to the artistry of the Victorian Era Mourning Card.

Next Week: Death in the Victorian Era part 11: Sin Eaters

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