Mysterious, precious, and jewel-like, an original “Lover’s Eye” can sell for thousands - if you are lucky enough to find one. It’s estimated that there were perhaps as little as 1,000 such miniatures painted between 1780 and 1830 throughout England and France. This was a time when, marriage for love, was virtually unknown. Marriages were arranged for political and financial alliances. Love affairs were common, and during this brief period, it became fashionable for secret lovers to wear an unidentifiable piece of their lover’s anatomy, most often an eye, in the form of a ring, brooch, pendant, or other pocket-size trinket. They were then, lavishly and delicately decorated with pearls and various jewels, and often worn and displayed quite publicly, while the true owner of the painted eye remained a mystery. The “Lovers Eyes” provide us with a rare, and telling glimpse, into the history of the human psyche and evolution.
I adore these little beauties. For me, they have a really contemporary feel. Hand-painted, watercolor on ivory, the originals are incredibly delicate and fragile - perhaps best kept in a safe place and out of direct sunlight. However, there are numerous knock-offs and reproductions that look fabulous and fresh in a bejeweled mix. As an artist, I am totally inspired by the “Lover’s Eyes”. I won’t be surprised to see their influence resurfacing in my own work.
xxx - PARIS
*images random unknown sources.