Pair of Painted Plaster 19thC Memento Mori Skulls


+44 (0)1767 640995

+44 (0)772 9213013


United Kingdom

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Pair of Painted Plaster 19thC Memento Mori Skulls

The probably unique pair of ochre painted plaster human skulls, each primitively sculpted with accentuated features and with flat backs and integral hanging hooks, the wholes with a good patination and surviving from late Victorian England.

The skulls are complete without any major losses, the paintwork nicely worn as one would expect and hope for.

The sculpting here is relatively primitive with deep nasal cavities and eye sockets, the teeth elongated, with each feature being extenuated. Although it is hard to tell where these would have been displayed, they would have essentially been designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the brevity and fragility of human life in the face of God and nature. Symbolic of the transience of all human existence, the image of the skull has been used by philosophers and theologians, artists and sculptors, writers and poets for centuries to provoke meditative thought on the indiscriminate nature of death.

Spookily good fun and ghoulishly decorative.


  • H: 19cm (7.5in)
  • W: 14cm (5.5in)
  • D: 6cm (2.5in)



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MK44 3NL
United Kingdom


'Doe & Hope specialise in decorative, rare and unusual antiques from around the world with a particular interest in the atmosphere that surrounds an object, taking a cinematic approach in the presentation of our inventory. Our house style is probably best described as theatrical; being a concoction of old money, dramatic decorative, and faded gentility, with common themes of both humour and the macabre running through our inventory, that includes both academic and playful objects.

We are members of LAPADA and were included in Homes & Antiques '50 Best Antique Shops' in the UK for 2016. We have had a concession in the prestigious Liberty of London department store in 2015 and have also won the Antiques Young Gun of the Year award for 2014.

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