January at Mackie Lake House is always very quiet, but this year finds it particularly so. There are no “goings on” due to the Covid restrictions, but there is always so much to do behind the scenes. We are lining up our events for this coming season. Again we feel it will not be a “normal” year so the events will remain small. Our wedding calendar is getting filled up with intimate weddings.
The best part of this time of year is digging deeper into some of the history and artifacts in the House. The stories are so wonderful and bring the objects to life. There are the large items that take up a significant amount of the “prestige” in the story. Like the sideboard designed by Thomas Sheraton, the William Burges’ jewel case, and the two magnificent grandfather clocks. But then there are the magnificent tiny items that you know must have an amazing story to tell.
Among them is this tiny little brooch. At first look it doesn’t seem like much. No large gemstones, no flashy colours. A simple grey brooch with tiny pearls. But wait, what is this made of? Oh my! It is human hair!!! This tiny treasure is a “mourning brooch”. It was made after the passing of a loved one from their hair – beautifully woven to look like art – and given to someone special. Tiny pearls were added to represent the tears shed in sadness of the loss. The back is engraved with a name and date. Elizabeth Lettis 06 23 May, 1820. Age 75, We have not yet discovered much about this Elizabeth, and what her connection is to the Mackies, but it is one of the many mysteries we are trying to solve here at Mackie Lake House. We will let you know when we discover it!