... this lovely delicate little bookmark, obviously made lovingly for my grandmother Ellen Dora, known as Nell or Nellie. The book, which I was about to dispose of, is The Poetical Works of Longfellow, and it was inscribed Nellie D Bragge, Oct 15/91 - that's 1891 of course, when she was 24 and still unmarried. The giver has also inscribed his or her initials, which sadly, I am unable to interpret. But I think, given the evidence of the bookmark, it must have been a sister, cousin or girl friend.
The shape and the colouring are so delicate that at first I thought it might be a real butterfly preserved in some magical way. But I don't really think it can be. It seems more likely that someone has painted it and cut it out so beautifully that it looks real. The pictures are worth enlarging to appreciate the delicacy of the colouring and the texture of the painting: oils? gouache?
The butterfly, together with a rose petal, was still folded into a piece of paper, which is of some interest in its own right. I don't think it is bed linen which is referred to, but, it seems, a copying service onto rather classy writing paper.