A rare mourning ear trumpet from the late 19th century as illustrated on p44 of ‘Historic Devices for Hearing’ (CID-Goldstein collection) and p30 of Elizabeth Bennion’s ‘Antique Hearing Devices’.
The metal trumpet lined in black silk and embroidered with lace has an ivory ear piece. An attached silk ribbon allows the device to be secured around the neck.
The prolonged and profound sadness of Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert set the stage for a period when the wearing of sombre clothing after a death was not simply a matter of etiquette but became one of fashion. Jewellery in jet and onyx and other accessories became de rigueur. Advice could be found in periodicals not just on vestments but also suitably staid household items to be used at times of bereavement. This became an accepted demonstration of the melancholy of loss at a time when society was otherwise less tolerant of verbalised emotion, by virtue of the stiff British upper lip.