Dance Kaleidoscope Costume - Gentlemen's Fobs
By Iain MacPhail
The one bright thing to be seen in most of the Regency portraits is a fob (or fobs) hanging at the right hip. While this might be any small curio, they were most commonly a large semiprecious stone engraved with the owners ‘seal’ (used for leaving an impression in the wax blob used for sealing letters and authenticating documents).
This rare photograph of a fob being worn on the hip is American, from the mid-century. The watch is in the waistcoat pocket. In England, by the time of the invention of photography, the watch was secured to the person by a strong chain across the belly of the waistcoat. Fobs were still worn, but hanging from the chain.
The fobs below have been offered for sale on the Internet by US dealers. I have seen very nice antique fobs on sale in Brisbane, so perhaps I should just mention that my birthday is in November.