Brass - Late nineteenth to early twentieth century
This brass necklace is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Metal was an important store of wealth in the Congo during the colonial era, and this necklace may have been made with either local metal or imported metal brought to the region by Europeans for use in trade. As a large item of metal jewellery, its wearer would probably have been a person of high wealth and status.
This necklace was brought to Reading by John and William Forfeitt. They both travelled to what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the Baptist Missionary Society, the former as Secretary and the latter as a missionary. It is likely that objects such as this were collected as curios, given up by locals who had been converted to Christianity or brought back to Britain for use in missionary exhibitions and fundraising talks. The Forfeitts had links to significant Reading families and businesses - both worked for Suttons Seeds before their mission with the BMS, and William Forfeitt married a daughter of the Collier family.
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