Kaleidoscope effect

Jewellery kaleidoscope

Eye miniature jewellery

Eye miniature jewellery

Eye miniature jewellery

Eye miniature jewellery was made in order to preserve the anonymity of a lover or a loved one, just as memorable item, later – decoration. Often with a miniature was kept a lock of hair of beloved one. Such commemorative miniatures were in vogue and became very popular in the 1790 – 1820’s in England, then in France, and Russia. The eyes of lovers were portrayed in jewelry: brooches, rings, bracelets and pendants, on the boxes, and wallets. Most often, these miniatures were made on on ivory.

Eye miniature jewellery

Eye miniature jewellery

The history of the emergence of these miniatures is as follows:
Prince of Wales (later King George IV) was in love with the widow Maria Fitzherbert (she was a Catholic and six years older than him) and made her a proposal. It is believed that sometime around 1785 Mrs. Fitzherbert commissioned Richard A. Cosway, a London miniaturist, to paint one of her eyes. The portrait was done on ivory, placed behind glass and set within a locket.

Maria Fitzherbert, (1756-1837), circa 1788

Maria Fitzherbert, (1756-1837), circa 1788

December 15, 1785 was their secret wedding. The artist – miniaturist Richard Cosway painted only the eyes of lovers, they exchanged and thereby maintained anonymity and decency. But the marriage was invalid, since his father George III did not approve it. As they say – a miniature “eyes of Mary”, George IV wore hidden under the lapel.

Eye miniature jewellery

Eye miniature jewellery

These miniatures were made not only for loving hearts, but also as a memory of a deceased spouse or child. Preserved brooches, pins, medallions, casket, bracelets, which show only the eyes, often side by side with them curl or twist of hair of a loved one, often a child’s or relative’s, not only a lover. On bracelets and medallions sometimes occured multiple thumbnails, then memorial decorations were very much in fashion. Many of the “eyes” were paired with portraits or entirely thumbnails. Such pairs havesurvived in museums.

Eye miniature jewellery

Eye miniature jewellery

Now many of these little things are unusual, even frightening. But these were the eyes of loved ones. There was no photography, from the means of communication- only mail, a miniature portrait was very expensive. The most important thing – they maintained anonymity. Eye miniature was exchanged by lovers who wished to keep their relationship a discreet secret.

Eye Miniature Portrait. Gerald Sinclair Hayward (1845-1926), a Canadian miniature painter

Eye Miniature Portrait. Gerald Sinclair Hayward (1845-1926), a Canadian miniature painter

Eventually, not just lovers but beloved family members were portrayed. One bracelet, for instance, is composed of four eyes, each belonging to a member of one family and bearing the initials of each individual. Mourning pieces contained the eye of a departed loved one, sometimes set in a frame of pearls which symbolized tears.”

Eye miniature ring. Georgian. Dated 1816. The ring is engraved to reverse AG 24 May 1816

Eye miniature ring. Georgian. Dated 1816. The ring is engraved to reverse AG 24 May 1816

Eye miniature with elaborate jeweled frame. Georgian. Circa late 1700s

Eye miniature with elaborate jeweled frame. Georgian. Circa late 1700s

Georgian eye miniature with a lock of hair

Georgian eye miniature with a lock of hair

Lover's eye handpainted on ivory of a beautiful woman with a hazel eye, surrounded by brown curls. Mounted in gold shell pendant

Lover’s eye handpainted on ivory of a beautiful woman with a hazel eye, surrounded by brown curls. Mounted in gold shell pendant

Lover's eye miniature pendantю Georgianю C. 1790

Lover’s eye miniature pendantю Georgianю C. 1790

Lover's eye. C. 1820, man's miniature eye, hand painted on ivory, set in a yellow gold

Lover’s eye. C. 1820, man’s miniature eye, hand painted on ivory, set in a yellow gold

Lover's eye. Circa 1800. An enigmatic enamel eye in the overall eye shape

Lover’s eye. Circa 1800. An enigmatic enamel eye in the overall eye shape

Mourning eye miniature. English. Circa 1820. Eye miniature brooch surrounded by diamonds set in black enamel and with a split pearl border

Mourning eye miniature

Mourning eye miniature. English. Circa 1820. Eye miniature brooch surrounded by diamonds set in black enamel and with a split pearl border.

Soldier with Lover's Eye

Soldier with Lover’s Eye

The oval ring of pink gold surrounded by blue enamel with ten small and two large diamonds in a frame made from freshwater pearls. c. 1790. from Dr. David and Mrs. Nan Skier Collection

The oval ring of pink gold

The oval ring of pink gold surrounded by blue enamel with ten small and two large diamonds in a frame made from freshwater pearls. c. 1790. from Dr. David and Mrs. Nan Skier Collection.

This eye miniature brooch is a wonderful painting on ivory of a woman's eye. Gold and pearls. Dated 1845

This eye miniature brooch is a wonderful painting on ivory of a woman’s eye. Gold and pearls. Dated 1845

This lovely lady is a rarity due to her red-gold hair. A lock of hair is encased in the locket in the back

This lovely lady is a rarity due to her red-gold hair. A lock of hair is encased in the locket in the back

A splendid miniature eye portrait from the Victoria and Albert Museum, with a diamond teardrop

A splendid miniature eye portrait from the Victoria and Albert Museum, with a diamond teardrop

Barbara Robbins 1810

Barbara Robbins 1810

Dawes eye miniature - diamond tear

Dawes eye miniature – diamond tear

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