This Victorian-era paper clip features a woman smoking a cigarette and luxuriously blowing a plume of smoke into the air. The smoke curls around her, creating a frame that mirrors her long, flowing hair. This image would have been risqué for the Victorian era because it was taboo for women to smoke; the woman in this picture seems to be indulging in a secret pleasure. The clip is still functioning: it has a firm grip that holds letters or papers in place, and a hole at the top that allows the clip to be hung up on a wall.
Writing letters was an important part of life in the Victorian era. Developments in the postal service, and the introduction of The Penny Post, made sending letters cheaper and easier than ever before. Letter writing accessories, like these paper clips, were popular household items that have been left behind as treasures from the era. These clips are still functional and make excellent home or office decorations. We have several in our collection, each with its own unique style and design.
This piece would be lovely hung up in a kitchen or office as a catchall for papers, notes, recipes, and receipts, or hung up outside near the front door for outgoing mail. It could also sit on a desk to help keep paperwork organized.
The clip is made of bronze, with a nice, darker patina. It measures approximately 3 1/2” x 2 1/4” x 1 1/4”. Circa 1890’s.