The Lady of the Carnival
Just in time for Fat Tuesday, this Victorian gentlewoman is ready to party. Whether she’s on her way to a masquerade ball with the fashionable set or sneaking out for a private meeting, her allure is captured in colorful enamel and 18k gold, a display locket on her reverse side. Created circa 1875, she has retained her vibrancy far longer than the early photography that would soon eclipse the portrait miniature in popularity.
What distinguishes this lady from the crowd of more forthright portraits is her black domino mask, the slightly offset rose-cut diamond eyes within accentuating her air of mystery. By adding the mask, she conceals herself from the viewing public—her identity perhaps only known to the portrait’s subject and its original owner, who (it appears) was also entrusted with a lock of her hair.
If layers of beads aren’t your thing, our lady of the carnival compliments the classiest Mardi Gras ensemble. Though her true identity is now lost to history, she’s sure to imbue her new wearer with her many years of mystique!