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Regency Georgian Eye Miniatures lover's eyes

A Precious Eye of a Lady, 1890. This miniature of watercolor on ivory is set in a gold and onyx bracelet with a beaded gold border. It came into the Royal Collection via King George V. Possibly a gift from his wife, Queen Mary or something he purchased on his own.

Stalking the Belle Époque: jewelry
  • Kathleen Anderson

    n 1784, at age 22, the Prince of Wales, George IV, became infatuated with an older woman and widow – Maria Fitzherbert. After his relentless pursuit, on December 15, 1785, Maria agreed to “marry” the smitten prince. The two were united in a form of secret, illegal, marriage. Why? Mrs. Fitzherbert was Catholic, quite a problem at that time. Had they officially married, he would not have become king. The story goes the two commissioned mini eye portraits made to wear as symbols of their love.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy british and european lovers exchanged ‘eye miniatures’ - love tokens so clandestine that even now it is almost impossible to identify their recipients or the people they depict. They were meant to be worn inside the lapel, near the heart.

An Antique English Victorian Eye Miniature Brooch, circa 1840 15K yellow gold, formed as a wicker basket with two twisted rope handles, applied with a flower set with a cabochon turquoise, the leaves and petals set with rose-cut diamonds, the back mounted with a circular portrait eye miniature of a gentleman’s three quarter partial profile with a brown eye and curly brown hair under glass. The illustration shows both the front & back of the piece.

A gold pendant, circa 1820,  containing a watercolour on ivory miniature of a female eye with brown iris and brown curl. The eye is set amidst clouds, symbolic of mourning. The pendant measures 1 and 1/8 inches by 3/4 of an inch. The painting is well executed on this completely original Georgian eye miniature. sold

'Eye miniatures', where one eye of the sitter was painted, were all the rage from 1790 to 1810. Most were tiny and set as brooches. This one has tears made out of little diamonds.

Search the Collections | Victoria and Albert Museum

Eye Miniatures from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Collection that belongs to David and Nan Skier.

Georgian Eye Miniature Ring Case Exquisite ivory ring case, circa 1790, decorated with gold pique-point work and set with an ivory on watercolour eye miniature of an eye with blue iris. No doubt a special commission, the case is fitted to interior with velvet lining for rings.

Rowan and Rowan : historical 1278