The Victorian coffin was as individual as the occupant. They were generally made of hard woods
but cast iron examples are not rare. Many were covered in black velvet held in place by metal studs. If you enlarge the center
right photo you can clearly see the studs still in place although the velvet has long since decomposed.
Law dictated as it still does today that coffins interred in brick vaults, tombs or catacombs had to be
triple sealed. This was achieved by the deceased being laid to rest in a wooden coffin or casket which was then sealed externally
by a layer of lead or zinc, in turn this would then be encased in the wooden outer coffin which was suitably decorated with
the coffin furniture such as name plates and handles, the forth picture down shows in reasonable detail a Coffin handle
on a standard Victorian paneled coffin.
This effective means of sealing also had another aspect which the Victorians found appealing in their bid
to remain physically eternal. The air tight coffin would in effect halt the decomposition process once the air sealed in with
the deceased had been utilized by the natural bacteria within the corpse.
Examples of perfectly preserved remains of over 150 years of age are not common finds, but they are sometimes discovered during
the unfortunate process of exhumation, although it has to be said that any coffins which remain intact after being exhumed
are never opened, just re-interred in a new place of rest.
Something which is often found placed atop or in close proximity of the Coffin, is what the Victorians called
"Everlasting Flowers". These consisted of entire "Arrangements" or "Wreaths" of minutely detailed lead flowers and flora.
The everlasting flowers in most cases would be mounted under glass domes (as can be seen in the bottom picture),
other times the "Arrangement" was simply leaned against the Coffin, which can be seen if you look closely at the top