The ‘rules’ about the wear and colour of mourning clothing were rigid and especially so for widows. Mourning clothing for widows was initially unrelieved black but as time passed this was changed to subdued colours such as grey and lavender. Some widows like Queen Victoria wore mourning (in her case black) for the rest of her life after her consort Prince Albert died.
Besides clothing there was a whole series of other mourning accessories - mourning jewellery was popular often made of jet and could feature a lock of hair of the deceased. This jewellery might be brooches, bracelets, pendants or rings.
Stationery and mourning cards were popular too all with black banding to the edges- including the envelope.
Local businesses advertised their services. For the wealthier mourner, Charles Rogers of High Street Southampton, linen draper 'would advise he sells every requisite for family mourning in great variety’. For the less well off J Carter, silk, cotton and line dyer advertised ‘family mourning dyed every week’ a cheaper way of meeting the strict rules of mourning on a budget.
This bonnet is actually black, but has been especially lit in the image to highlight the detail.
Mourning for men was much simpler. They wore a black mourning band on the sleeve of their coats for about 6 months and could take part in social occasions much sooner than could a widow.
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