Buttons on their original cards by the same maker.
Virtue, Liberty,and Independence is the state motto of Pennsylvania. The motto of was officially adopted in 1875. The meaning of the Pennsylvania State Motto reflects the attitude & hope of the people of New York following the outbreak of the War Of Independence in 1775-1783.
The images of horses, eagle, wheat, plow & boat are all on the state flag of Pennsylvania.
When seen individually, many people mistake silk braid buttons for mourning buttons made of hair. Silk braid buttons were often dyed colors, like blue & green. Mourning buttons used a loved ones hair that was its original color. Mourning buttons were special & the hair was often set in gold, where as these silk buttons were set in vegetable ivory.
These brite cut buttons with brass birds were used on a wedding dress in 1886. White wedding dresses became popular in 1840 after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. Before that, wedding dresses came in many colors.
During the Middle Ages & Renaissance, colors had symbolic meanings and wedding dresses were made in a range of colors. Blue was a popular choice as it represented chastity but brides also choose colors like green, red & yellow.
If artist Hieromymous Bosch designed antique French buttons, I imagine they’d look like worms with heads & snakes. My reference book says these are Seps, snake-like mythological creatures with the heads of other animals. What do you see? I see a rabbit, dog & cat heads.
Grapes were a popular theme among Victorian buttons. Grapes often represented Christ the with fruit & leaves symbolizing the Christian faith. Grapes themselves represented the sacrificial blood of Christ. The leaves stood for rebirth. The vines a representation of bounty.
Grapes are one of the earliest cultivated crops & the fruit & their vines are sacred to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. As such, these vines take on a jovial symbolism, representing celebration & abundance.
These are just a few examples of antique buttons with a grape motif.
A Bacchante or Maenad, female followers Bacchus, the god of wine.
Carved mother-of-pearl over abalone.