Join Old York for a talk by Arielle Kellerman, as part of the 2019 Dessert and Lecture Series, which takes a deep dive into Old York’s collections—exploring the history and context of a variety of objects, from furniture and porcelain to shoes and jewelry.
Death was ever present in the colonies, and jewelry often served as a reminder—or Momento Mori—to the faithful of their own mortality, to repent, and to honor what truly mattered. Motifs of skulls, full skeletons, caskets, and hourglasses, along with personal inscriptions served a practical daily role for the wearer. In the 18th century, mourning jewelry would replace the Memento Mori as an object worn to honor a lost loved one. Seemingly morbid motifs were replaced by simple black enameled bands with names and death dates, sometimes with hairwork or scenes of women mourning at a grave site. Kellerman explains how mourning fashion reflected the political and religious culture of the day, and how these sentimental tokens of love and remembrance were made and worn. Pieces from Maine and York families will be examined, and examples of 18th century jewelry from Kellerman’s collection will be on display.
Arielle Kellerman is a museum educator and private antiques dealer and collector specializing in 18th-century jewelry.
The lecture is followed immediately by coffee, tea, and dessert in Jefferds Tavern.