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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Locket
Identifier: 2005.1.16
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: c.1870
Image Creator: Museums of Mississuaga
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A 15 carat gold oval locket with the initials EMH (Elizabeth Molony Harris). The initials are on both sides of the locket although one side is engraved and the other side has raised letters. Inside is a black and white line drawing of an older man with a soft cap and beard. The locket hangs from a ridged and twisted oval link necklace.

The initials might be for Elizabeth Molony Harris, the wife of James Beveridge Harris. Elizabeth Molony (1806-1884) was a native of Dublin, Ireland, who married Captain James Beveridge Harris (1797-1884) in 1829. She was one of eight children of an Anglican minister, Reverend Weldon John Molony, and Mary Preston. Elizabeth brought into the marriage an income of her own, based on rents from property in County Kildare, Ireland. Seven years after their marriage, her husband bought Benares in Upper Canada. She found herself a mistress of an estate in what was then an obscure and thinly settled portion of the British Empire, where servants were scarce and the neighbours distant. Elizabeth and James had eight children, five of which reached adulthood. Both died within the same year, in 1884.
Kathleen Agnes Sayers neé Colloton (1907 -1981) was the wife of Geoffrey Sayers. Kathleen, known as Kay, married Geoffrey in 1933 at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Erindale. Kay and Geoffrey never had any children and were the last Harris relatives to live at Benares. This jewellery was part of Kay Sayers Estate and was donated by Geoffrey Sayers. Many of these pieces were originally from inheritances through the Harris and Draper families.
Large lockets with heavy chains became very fashionable in the 1870’s and were the most popular fashion ornament for everyday wear. Lockets were oversized to accommodate photographs that were difficult to reduce at that time although they were also used to hold the hair of a loved one. Often the style was “architectural”and very heavy and usually worn high up on the chest. Lockets were also worn by children and by men usually in the form of a watch fob.
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