Antique Lover's Eye Brooch
What could be more intimate than a miniature hand-painted portrait of a loved one, forever kept and cherished. In addition, what could be more secretive than coveting that very portrait which reveals only the person's eye—perhaps no one else being aware of the sitter's identity. A clandestine rendezvous, hushed whispers, forbidden love...this was the tale of George IV (before he was crowned) and his lover Mrs. Fitzherbert or so the story goes.
A byproduct of the first lover's eye, this brooch dates to 1861 as it has a registry mark of that year. It is watercolor on ivory of, more rarely, a man's deep brown or hazel right eye. The sitter was a more mature subject, evidenced by the pronounced eye area and shading. An arching charcoal brow highlights the iris as he gazes off to the right. It is set into a 10 to 12k gold frame with a beaded and oval plaque border and twisted wire inner rim. Covered in glass, the back shows the registry mark and has the original "C" clasp and tube hinge.
It measures 1-1/4 inches wide by 1-1/16 inches wide; the ivory measures about 11/16 of an inch in width by more than ½ of an inch wide. In very good condition with light wear to the glass and one tiny imperfection on the far right edge; several spots on the underside of the glass if viewed with a loupe; the painting is intact and fine. On the left and lower edges the ivory appears to have some green or bluish tinges. This appears to be due to the glass or hollow between the ivory and the casing. In some light this does not show; in others a more greenish or bluish tinge appears. The ivory has shrunk a tiny amount along the bottom right edge which is typical of old ivory.
The watercolor and painting is remarkable and realistic and reads as a mesmerizing eye when worn. Superb. English in origin. Read more about lover's eye jewelry by clicking on "Reference" then "Helpful Term" and scrolling to the section on Lover's Eyes.