The Art of Darkness

Memento Mori

August 18th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Memento MoriThe Curious Expeditions blog has a neat article on The Art of Mourning, including some of the odder memento mori like Victorian hairwork.

Published in 1860, Art Recreations is a thorough guide to artistic pastimes for Victorian women. It offers detailed lessons in many standard art forms, like pencil drawing, grecian painting, and watercolor, but somewhere towards the last third of the book, the mediums veer into bizarre and thoroughly antiquated crafts. This back section begins with a deceptively simple guide to taxidermy. It opens graphically with,

“Take out the entrails; remove the skin with the greatest possible care; rub the whole interior with arsenic…after taking out the entrails, open a passage to the brain, which must be scooped out through the mouth…”

In that same vein, check out these gorgeous “memorial samplers” here, here, and here. These are mostly silk embroidery, lovingly detailed. I particularly like the last one; as the Anticraft commented, it looks like an Edward Gorey drawing. I don’t think I’m willing to spend $12,000 for the original, but I’m definitely toying with trying to see if I can replicate the design.

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