Hair Adornment in Rossetti Paintings

hair-adornment I love to search the paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti because he adds so many details and symbolism.  It’s hard not to notice this beautiful spiral-shaped hair clip that seems to have migrated from one canvas to another:

A Christmas Carol:


The Bower Meadow:




Grace at The Beautiful Neccessity also has a post about this delightful piece of jewelry, with several other images.

11 thoughts on “Hair Adornment in Rossetti Paintings”

    • Oh, thank you so much for that comment! You don’t happen to remember where you read that, do you? Because reading your comment jogged a bit of a memory in the back of my mind, but I can’t place my finger on where or when I have heard that.

  1. I have also always liked the enamelled Peruvian hair ornament he used in Beloved. The colors are so beautiful!

    This piece was borrowed by the wife of Charles Howell, you say, Nancy? How interesting. Like husband, like wife, troublemakers, both of them, it seems.

  2. The author of the book is Geoffrey Munn and the title is: “Artiists jewellery: from Pre-Raphaelite to…..”. I am sure about the author and what I can remember of the title. It is a wonderful book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. In my next message I will tell you about an antique pendant I own that has very strong Pre-Raph influence. Until then, take carem

  3. Please excuse the poor spelling and typing . Iam writing this on my phone without my reading glasses.


  4. Isn’t it fascinating how detailed the jewellery is in Rossetti’s work? I love how you can recognize the same pieces being used over and over again. If I was a jewellery designer, I would totally steal these styles! I’ve always loved this hair ornament. Thanks for doing a special post on it!

  5. Hi Everyone. I am proud to announce that I have finally finished my Masters dissertation entitled = The Use, Depiction and Design of Jewellery By the Painters of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

    In 135 pages, I describe the above, in relation to Gabriel Rossetti, Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Edward Burne-Jones. I also look at how their designs and jewellery influenced fine art,literature and art nouveau jewellery design. It took me 5 months to research and complete.

    Anyone interested, or would perhaps like to buy a copy of it -either on CD or bound, let me know. I wish to share my findings with the Sisterhood.

    My email –


  6. Note to self: get spiral hair pin.

    I had noticed that this pin turned up a lot. I wondered if it meant something specific, or if it was just a piece of jewellery he rather liked.

  7. Hair Adornment in Rossetti Paintings.
    In reply to ‘HouseCat’s comment – the spiral is a symbol of reincarnation. We spiral inwards towards the Underworld of dreams and reflexion and then follow the spiral back to our mortal lives.
    Stephanie, thank-you for creating such a beautiful website. I’m sure I’m only one of many who appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

  8. The same spiral pin is also in Rossetti’s “La Bella Mano”, it is poised in a jar to the left of the figure.


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