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Title: A grammar of sentiment thinking about sentimental jewellery towards making new art about love and loss
Author: Parmar, Bharti
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2009
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This practice-led research project explores English and French sentimental jewellery of the Victorian period. ‘Sentimental jewellery’ or ‘message jewellery’ denotes jewellery created to function as a tangible expression of feeling between donor and recipient, mediated through complex narratives relating to its exchange. These artefacts codify emotion through use of complex visual languages, employing the symbolic and coded use of gems, human hair, emblems, words and wordplay. The research has expanded to encompass memorial garments known as ‘widows weeds’. The aims of the research have been threefold: firstly, to add to understanding and interpretation of aspects of Victorian sentimental jewellery and associated craft practices; secondly, to explore the metaphors and narratives inherent within them; thirdly, to test the visual and technical possibilities of knowledge thus gained to address human feeling through art. Outcomes take the form of a body of new artwork and a written thesis, which are designed to be mutually informing. Together, they articulate my response to the project’s central question: can consideration of the ‘grammar of sentiment’ at work in Victorian sentimental jewellery yield new possibilities, through fine art practice, for communicating love and loss in the 21st century? The four artworks that are a main output of the research take the forms of: REGARD:LOVEME, an artist’s book exploring gem codes and wordplay; Plocacosmos, a set of hairworking trials; The Cyanotypes, which reflect upon the materiality and aesthetic of the amatory locket; and Widows Weeds, a large format photographic installation, which considers the materiality and lineage of mourning cloth. Collectively, they explore the typology of the sentimental artefact through development of text/image vocabularies that are conceived as providing a ‘grammar of sentiment’ through which to articulate aspects of human feeling. It is this exploration that constitutes my main contribution to knowledge.
Supervisor: Collins, Tim ; Payne, Antonia ; Rangasamy, Jacques Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fine art ; Jewellery ; Contemporary art practice ; Sentimental jewellery ; Hair ; Taxonomy ; Victorian ; Memorial ; Love and loss ; Death ; Textiles ; Words and etymology ; Practice-based research