The Art of Darkness

Mourning Parlor Domes

March 27th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Parlor DomeMan, the Victorians just beat us hollow where creative mourning is concerned. Parlor Domes–bell jar-type glass display cases–were a hugely popular part of Victorian decor. Also hugely popular was any kind of memento mori woe-is-us sentiment. Put ’em together and you get gorgeous pieces like this French cemetery scene, containing hair from the deceased.

They put me in mind somewhat of the desktop cemeteries I did a couple of years ago, but I think I might like these even better; the view of the interior is clearer and I love the way the tree fills the dome.

Something like this–with or without the hair–would be relatively straightforward to make. Glass display domes are available at craft stores and trophy shops. Miniature trees and other landscaping details are widely used in model railroad layouts, so there’s a large variety, in several scales, to choose from (this weeping willow and this dead maple are nice). Tombstones, crypts, iron gates, and other cemetery accessories are available for both model railroads and dollhouses; ditto the ground cover and materials used for building up the substrate.

The finished dome would be a lovely addition to a desktop or mantel. If anybody accuses you of being morbid, inform them that such displays have a long historical precedent, so there.

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