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Mourning handkerchief, associated with Oswald family, Auchencruive, Ayrshire

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Mourning handkerchief, associated with Oswald family, Auchencruive, Ayrshire
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This cotton circular mourning handkerchief is from the Oswald family of Auchencruive in Ayrshire. It dates from around 1870.

The handkerchief has a printed inner border of black interlinked 'L' shapes and an outer border of plain black. The centre is embroidered with an 'M' and an 'O' in red cross stitches.

In the 19th century the etiquette of mourning became more complex and more widespread especially for women. Queen Victoria was widowed in 1861 and wore mourning dress from then until her death 40 years later. Her example was followed by widows everywhere.

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