Mourning bracelet clasp for John George Washington Hancock

about 1787

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Overall: 4.8 x 2.9cm (1 7/8 x 1 1/8in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold; watercolor on ivory, hair

Not On View


Americas, Jewelry


Bracelets and armlets

Two mourners, a man and woman, stand flanking an ivory obelisk upon which is written -GO- / SPOTLESS / INNOCENCE / -TO- / ENDLESS / BLISS. The ground is composed of chopped hair. There are several seed pearl accents with some now missing. The scene is framed by two narrow bands of blue and white enamel. Two conforming gold pieces on each side are pierced with eight holes to allow attachment to multi-strand bracelet. On the reverse is an inscription surrounding a glass compartment with woven brown and gray hair.

Engraved on the back: “George Washington Hancock Died 1.27.87 9 yrs.” Young Hancock, son of John Hancock, died after he slipped and fell on ice.


INo. GEO: WASHINGTON HANCOCK. OBt. 27. JAN. 1787 AEt. 9. Yrs.


By 1945, in the collection of William B Wood (1879- 1945/8) of Jamaica Plain, Mass; 1945, bequeathed to Charles H Wood (1913-1993); 1985, gift of Charles H. Wood of Duxbury, Mass. to the MFA (Accession date: December 11, 1985).

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Wood