The Victorian era is generally thought as the period during Queen Victoria’s reign, from 1837 to her death in 1901. When we think of the Victorian era we generally think of the artistic and cultural behaviors of the time. Victorianism is punctuated with social values, arts, religion, romanticism, and a dash of mysticism.
While there are many areas of Victorian society to explore one that we are particularly interested in are Victorian funeral practices and Victorian mourning. The Victorians had rules in place for all manners of social interaction, and they also observed specific rites and rituals for death and dying. It was Queen Victoria who most famously took death to the extreme, as well as grieving in grand-scale when she went into a deep mourning after the death of her husband, Prince Consort Albert. Many who watched her followed suit with their own practices.
Large flower arrangements, grand clothes, and even symbolism in headstones was very important during this time. It was also the Victorians who popularized the use of burial in park-like cemeteries.
Death during this time was a public event and darkness and gloom were part of the ritual.
Following on are some images we found of Victorian mourning. You’ll see large dark costumes popular with women. Women were typically the last caregivers of those who died and so they were in a position to publicly display their sense of mourning on a large scale to the public.