An online feature from UW-Madison’s Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection offers a closer look at 19th century fancywork wreaths made from hair. These wreaths are some of the most visually striking examples of Victorian-era fancywork. While modern audiences might find the use of hair distasteful, hairwork was once a highly-valued representation of the maker’s close connections to the friends and family members whose hair she collected and displayed in her parlor.

Hair Wreaths: Fancywork from the Victorian Era” includes two interpretive essays as well as a link to 16 related objects in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection’s public database.