Portrait of a Surinamese Girl, anonymous, c. 1810
Affluent citizens gave each other portrait miniatures as a sign of affection or as keepsakes. They were worn as a brooch, the central part of a bracelet, a ring, or as in this case a pendant on a chain. Attached to the back is a lock of the sitter’s hair. Nothing is known about this Surinamese girl, but given the locket’s costly materials, she must have been of well-to-do, possibly European, origins.