The Victorians knew how to ‘souvenir with style’!
It’s that time of year, when Christmas (when was that?) and New Year are distant memories, and our thoughts turn to holidays and warmer climes.
For me, Scotland and/or the Lake District are my default destinations, but it doesn’t stop me considering the amazing ski slopes of Canada and North America, or dreaming about snorkelling in the Mediterranean – sigh!
The Victorians were renowned travellers and explorers; I think everyone has heard of Livingstone and Stanley’s forays into Africa, and perhaps the lesser known Speke, who in 1858 named the largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria (how imaginative eh?).
Victorians lucky enough to travel beyond the shores of the British Isles , returned with souvenirs reflecting the North African and Western Asian influence.
This influence extended to jewellery design, artwork and architecture. Orientalism even made it as far as a functional cigarette case! Other cigarette cases, such as those crafted by the collectable silversmith Nathaniel Mills depicted scenes closer to home, such as famous buildings like St Pauls Cathedral.
Pietra dura pieces, intricate mosaic items and cameo brooches were often purchased as meaningful souvenirs of a Grand European Tour.
So although we have our modern technology, digital photography, Twitter and mobiles, via which we share our holiday experiences, I wonder, if our holiday ‘memorabilia’ will last the test of time in the same way as the souvenirs of our Victorian predecessors.
Which is your most treasured souvenir , and why – that’s something to think about?
Please contact us if you have any queries about the items shown on this page.