This jet mourning brooch, 5.6 cm in length, with a central rose motif finely carved in high relief, features in a series of photographs of the widowed Elizabeth Buchanan, nee Lucas (c1822-1890) taken by Sydney photographers Freeman & Co, probably not long after the death of her husband William Buchanan (c1799-1885) in March 1885. In one head-and-shoulders half-profile Elizabeth wears the brooch to secure her crape collar and also wears a small white widow’s cap, with train, very much in the manner of Queen Victoria. The photograph is the source for an enlarged hand-coloured version of the image on milk glass - an opalotype – that has been set in a plush red velvet mount and framed as a memorial to Elizabeth herself who died only five years after her husband, in July 1890. It was probably William and Elizabeth’s only child, their daughter Bessie Rouse of Rouse Hill House, who commissioned the opalotype which now hangs in the dining room at Rouse Hill House. It was certainly Bessie who inherited the brooch on her dear mother’s death.
HR93/183-2 + R87/12 [photograph]