Memorial Scene

Attributed to Dutch Schoolcirca 1840 or later

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati, United States

This impressive memorial picture is worked almost entirely in hair, with details painted in watercolor. Beneath a weeping willow tree is a tomb decorated with pearls and chopped hair designs. It is inscribed P L H / overleden / 20 novr 1840. Underneath an evergreen tree is a plaque inscribed H M P / overleden / 1 decem / 1837. The use of the Dutch word overleden (died) suggests that the piece may have been produced in The Netherlands or for a member of an expatriate Dutch community.

The evergreen was a common motif used to represent everlasting life. At the upper right is a butterfly, which is a symbol of resurrection and rebirth. On the ground interspersed with forget-me-nots are an hourglass and a scythe, traditional symbols of the passage of time and mortality.

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  • Title: Memorial Scene
  • Creator: Attributed to Dutch School
  • Date Created: circa 1840 or later
  • Physical Dimensions: 3 ½ x 2 13/16 in. (8.9 x 7.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann III
  • Accession Number: 2004.238
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory, hair, mother of pearl, and split seed pearls