Memento Mori is Latin for "remember that you will die" and today that phrase is generally associated with the photographs of the dead that were popular during the nineteenth century. The recently deceased family member would be lovingly dressed and posed and a photo would be taken for the family to have a memento of the person. Due to high mortality rates among children during this time period, this was incredibly common when they died. Some of the photos remain to this day and are touching and sometimes beautiful. Because this type of photography was quite expensive at the time, this was often the only picture that was ever taken of the person. Some of the ones with babies are heartbreaking - they look asleep, but you know that they aren't.
They're in high demand and fetch a high price, but good luck finding one for sale, most private collectors are unwilling to part with theirs.
As I've been looking around, I've found some quite wonderful pieces and I'd like to share them with you:
I know that I have chosen a disproportionate number of photos with children and babies (almost all, in fact), but I find them unusually poignant and striking. So much love and care has gone into making these photos look respectful, like little slumbering angels.
These are the best ones I've found on Google - just search ' Victorian era memento mori' and you'll see many, many more. They range from the serene to the bizarre - but that's a post for another day, I think.
I also found numerous boards on Pinterest dedicated to this topic. They have some truly spectacular photos available. If you're interested, check out some of these boards:
I could go on all night. There are a surprising number of people (who look really normal considering their other boards) who are into this kind of thing. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of information available about the people in the photos. If you have any specific info on any of the ones I have listed or if you have any to add, please let me know!
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