Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lover's Eye

In my upcoming release A Grand Deception, the third installment for the Gentlemen of Worth series, there is a trinket bestowed upon the hero called a Lover’s Eye.

Even those who read Regency novels may not be familiar with these miniature paintings popular between the 1780s and 1830s.

Lover’s Eyes were small portraits worn as a pendant, ring, brooch, or stickpin of a loved one.

A wisp of hair or the bridge of the nose would hint at the subject’s identity thus preserving anonymity. Quelle jolie, n’est pas?

The intent was to keep the lover’s identity secret by not revealing the whole face. The focus was the eye, often with an eyebrow and lashes.

It is said the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV, and his mistress Maria Fitzherbert exchanged gifts of one painted eye as tokens of love. Prinny wore Mrs. Fizherbert’s eye portrait under his lapel. Once it was known the Prince Regent possessed such a trinket, it became quite fashionable.

This is Lady Muriel Worth's Lover's Eye I used in A Grand Deception.

Upon researching this topic I found a recent flurry of activity.

A new book as been released:

Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection

Here are some other URLs that might be interesting:

Vanity Fair: A Lover’s Gaze

New York Times: Cultivating a Love of “Lover’s Eyes”

Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Free Press

PBS: Gazing into a Lovers’ Eye

Candice Hern . . . a Regency author


Sandy Cody said...

Shirley, this is fascinating. I had no idea Lover's Eyes existed.

Shirley Marks said...

They're pretty cool, aren't they?

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's very interesting!!

Sharon Archer said...

I've never heard of these, Shirley, but they are fascinating... in a slightly creepy way!

It's always great to learn something new! Thanks!