an antique victorian keep sake love token sailors valentine roundel .
approx 200mm in diameter.
an exquisite round shaped flat glass covered diorama, ( often known as a porthole, bulls eye roundels had curved glass ) consisting of a victorian hand coloured photographic print of south parade pier, southsea, surrounded by pelicans foot shells , cowrie, mussel, periwinkle and pretty coloured and pearlescent English and european shells.
the photograph is a view of south parade pier Southsea, Portsmouth, hampshire. Southsea South Parade Pier was built on the spot where Henry VIII witnessed the sinking of his flagship the Mary Rose in 1545. the pier was designed by G.Rale as a passenger terminal for ferries to the Isle of Wight. construction started in 1875 and the 1950ft long pier was completed in 1879. it was opened by Princess Edward of Saxe-Weimar ( the keepsake possibly being made to commemorate this event). sadly in 1904 the pier was destroyed by fire. a shorter version with a concrete deck was built at a cost of £85,000 opening in 1908.
this is a fine example of a shell keepsake. the shells are bright and all intact, they have been carefully cleaned and conserved removing a century of dirt, soot and grime to revitalise their natural beauty. the wood effect paper on the reverse is in good condition, the brass hanging ring is in tact and is strong ready for wall hanging.
shell work was very much in vogue when queen victoria came to the throne in 1837. her reign coincided with a period of tremendous social expansion as the industrial revolution gave more and more people free time, money and education to enjoy pastimes. coastal resorts and spas became popular holiday destinations. sea shells became very fashionable as souvenirs, in particular when they were incorporated into items such as this roundel, to be taken home as a reminder of the good times spent on holiday or as a keepsake or love token to be given to a potential suitor.
this antique shell keepsake was manufactured in the uk over 100 years ago.