The Victorian Art of Mourning: The evolution of mourning and funeral customs during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901.
(2016) The Victorian Art of Mourning: The evolution of mourning and funeral customs during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901., no. 37.
This dissertation examines the evolution of mourning and funeral customs during the reign of Queen Victoria, from the time period 1837 to 1901. The Victorian era has long been perceived to have been the time period in which the height of both mourning and funeral customs were achieved in British society, and through research into the topic this dissertation investigates how true this statement is. The topic shall be explored through examining three royal funerals which took place during the era: the funeral of King William IV which occurred in 1837, with his death leading to start of the Victorian era; the Prince Consort's funeral in 1861 which will be used as the midpoint comparison in this study, his death and Queen Victoria's subsequent mourning was highly influential on mourning culture towards the middle of the era; and finally, the funeral of Queen Victoria. Her death meant the beginning of new era and ushered in a new chapter in mourning and funeral customs. Royal funerals had long set the precedent to which society based their mourning and funeral traditions on, and they will be used in this dissertation of indicators of changes within the customs. The conclusion of the research gathered is that mourning and funeral customs did not progress at the same rate, and were subsequently at odds with each other during the era. Whilst the height of mourning customs and etiquette did indeed occur during the Victorian era; the tradition of ostentatious and lavish funerals was already in decline by the start of the era.