A ring with locks of hair of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, which was presented to Madame de Tourzel, the governess of the children of France.
Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 1994 photographed by Sølve Sundsbø for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty “The inspiration behind the hair came from Victorian times when prostitutes would sell theirs for kits of hair locks, which were bought by people to give to their lovers. I used it as my signature label with locks of hair in Perspex. In the early collections, it was my own hair.”
Among the inspirations for Mary Shelley's gothic classic 'Frankenstein' from 1818 were the (in)famous experiments carried out in public by the physicist Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834) at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1803. Aldini was the nephew of the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani who experimented with frog legs in the late 18th century and noted that the muscles contracted with the passage of an electrical current (he thought he had discovered a unique 'animal electricity').
This enamelled gold mourning ring commemorates the death of Samuel Nicholets of Hertfordshire who died on 7th July 1661, as is recorded in the inscription inside the ring. The ring is hollow, and a lock of hair curls around within it, visible through the openwork of the enamelled decoration of skulls and coats of arms.