This magnificent oval medallion has its original japanned papier mache flat back and its original convex glass locket cover. Inside, there is a magnificent woman. She looks like an early 19th century bride. Her gown is made of meticulously folded white paper. Her veil is the same, but of a gossamer thin paper. She holds some sort of rod in one gloved hand and a book, maybe a Bible or prayer book, in the other. Her face is a hand tinted die cut. Behind her is midnight blue ground; framing her is paper lace. The case has a brass edging or frame. A glorious presentation. 2 5/8”L X 2”W. It is a shade over ½” thick at its thickest point in the center.
We can thank the Industrial Revolution, oddly enough, for the rise in home crafts such as quilling and folded paper work. The early 19th century revolution made it possible to spend less time making household necessities and more time crafting decorative pieces. Also, the sentimentality of the 18th and 19th century people helped build the home-crafter population. In the days before photography, symbolic artwork including jewelry was often a way to hold memories dear.
The early paper crafts were more widely done by ladies of the upper classes. These were the people able to get paper to use; it was a premium commodity back then. Of all the women who did glorious paper artwork, Mrs. Mary Delany, born in 1700 in England, is my favorite. One of our photos here shows Mrs. Delany's magnolia blossom, made of cut and folded paper - one of her "paper-mosaiks". Our plaque is another glorious tribute to the talent of the ladies who folded, cut and worked paper into beautiful and meaningful art during the 18th and 19th centuries.