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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo Credit: Christopher Gardner
Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo Credit: Christopher Gardner
Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
Artist: Unknown

Mourning Brooch for William Coleman (ca. 1753–1787)


Watercolor and chopped hair with applied ivory on ivory

1 1/2 × 5/8 in. (3.8 × 1.6 cm)
Anonymous Gift for the John Marshall Phillips Collection

A female mourner weeps as she leans against a plinth and urn inscribed “WC,” the initials of the deceased William Coleman. This brooch was probably commissioned by Coleman’s widow, who would have chosen this tiny scene from a book of common mourning symbols that could be personalized. In addition to the image painted on ivory, there is paint on the underside of the glass that creates a sense of three-dimensionality. A member of the noted Coleman family of goldsmiths from Burlington, New Jersey, probably made this brooch. Surrounding the miniature is a border of yellow-gold letters with black enamel infilling that reads “WILLIAM: COLEMAN: DIED: IN: 1787: AGED: 34: Ys.”

Made in United States
Not on view
18th century
Miniatures - Jewelry
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.