It’s FRIDAY FASHION FACT! Today we are discussing another very specific
piece of fashion history: Lover’s Eye Jewelry. Much like hair jewelry
(which I discuss here) while the concept may seem very foreign to us
today, these pieces were highly valued and treasured keepsakes.
concept of lover’s eye jewelry, known in it’s time as eye miniatures,
is pretty obvious. Lover’s would commission miniature portraits of just
their eyes. The portraits would be incorporated into all types of
jewelry, such as brooches, necklaces, and bracelets. They were seen as
much more intimate than a typical portrait. Since the portrait focused
solely on that one feature, only those closest to the portrait’s subject
would be able to identify
to whom the eye belonged. This meant that eye portraits were rarely
turned into lockets, as was common with typical miniature portraits. The
anonymity of eye portraits also caused these miniatures to develop a
a reputation of being exchanged between forbidden loves, whether the
star-crossed lovers, those in the midst of scandalous affairs, or even
men and their mistresses.
Eye miniatures were also seen as
especially intimate because of how personal eyes themselves are. As we
have all heard, “the eyes are the window to the soul.”
a romantic piece of jewelry deserves an equally romantic story to
accompany it. While no one is certain where eye miniatures got their
start, it was the tale of a forbidden love between a prince and a
commoner which sparked the trend’s popularity. In the 1780s, the future
King George IV fell head over heals in love with commoner Maria
Fitzherbert. She was 6 years his elder, twice widowed, and, most
controversial in Britain at the time, Catholic. Both knew that the
relationship would never be approved of by the King, George III, and so
Maria resisted. Yet the Prince of Wales (George IV) persisted, and Maria
fell for him in return. She presented the Prince with an eye miniature
pin, which it was rumored he wore hidden under his lapel. The two were
wed in secret, yet the marriage was never recognized as valid by the
British government. Likely due to the rejection from King George III,
the two separated in the 1790s. George went on to marry another (the
full story is fascinating- I recommend reading up on it.) However,
on George IV’s deathbed, he requested to be buried along with Maria’s
eye miniature, a wish that was granted.
remained popular through the early Victorian Age. Mystery shrouds most
surviving examples, as it is nearly impossible to identify the eye
without solid provenance. Though they fell from popularity, lover’s eye
jewelry never disappeared completely, and are still created on the rare
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The smallest English dictionary in the world has been discovered by West Country book shop owner Graham York. Although only 1x3/4inch the tiny
book’s 384 pages contain thousands of words, and even comes with a lens
in its case for surreptitious study when challenged by a lack of
diction. Printed by David Bryce & Sons in Glasgow in 1890 it’s
thought only a handful of the mini books were made to show the printer’s
skills. Graham said, ‘it would have been the perfect tool for a
Victorian quiz or Scrabble night, just like a smart phone is today.
Although you would have to be blessed with 20/20 vision to use it.’
Graham is now taking his miniature discovery to the Chelsea Book Fair in
November where the tiny book is expected to generate huge interest.
A charming and very detailed miniature diorama of an 18th century English country house. Hand painted background and stunning details to the house model, with several characters and farm animals. A side green house, a bridge in relieve over waters on the back panel. And tons of little details, too many to describe !!! Notice the post sign that reads “to Islington / to London”. This model seems to be commissioned by Theophilus Rayfayre an antiquarian and proprietor of the house. Original glass case in very good shape. Signed on it’s back in pencil but really difficult to read. A one of a kind piece.
Dimensions: 27 ½" wide x 13 ¼" deep x 14 ¼" tall.
Item No. E2264
Please contact LBNO for further information or trade consideration.