Victorian 18K Gold & Enamel Nobility Mourning Locket


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A very fine and moving 18K gold and enamel locket in loving memory of Francis Mary, Viscountess Forbes who died on Christmas Day, 1877. She married the Viscount Forbes, 26 years her senior when she was just 21 years old. She was predeceased by her husband, and though she never became a Countess, their son inherited the title Earl of Granard. The locket was likely made for her granddaughter-in-law, Beatrice Mills Forbes, an American heiress who was Viscountess Forbes at the time of Francis Mary’s death. Lady Forbes led a rather fascinating life, as Queen Victoria’s confidante and one of her longest-serving Women of the Bedchamber (1837-1874). Even in her later years, she remained an Extra Woman and was called to Court for special occasions.

The front of the locket is beautifully worked with a black enameled cypher surmounted by an Earl’s coronet against a bloomed gold finish. The back is similarly decorated with an engraved cypher and coronet. The interior features an area for a portrait on one side, and a glass compartment enclosing a twisted lock of Francis Mary’s hair on the other. The frame surrounding the hair is engraved “Francis Mary Viscountess Forbes/Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth/b. 21st Oct. 1811/d. Christmas day 1877.”

• Origin: England, 1877
• Condition: excellent, no enamel damage, dings, etc.
• Dimensions: 1-3/8” x 1-5/8” (2-1/4” with bail)
• Weight: 26.2 grams

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