Georgian eye miniature
A Georgian eye miniature, circa 1800. The watercolour miniature on vellum depicts a female eye with brown iris, her face framed by brown curls. She gazes out from a sea of swirling cobalt blue clouds, symbolic of mourning. The miniature is set to a gold locket with a simple wheat sheaf twist of hair to reverse, both sides covered by domed crystal. The pendant measures one inch by 3/4 of an inch. Eye miniatures were a curious anomaly in miniature painting which became fashionable at the end of the 18th century. They were an extremely intense manifestation of an already emotionally charged art, apparently an attempt to capture ‘the window of the soul’, the supposed reflection of a person’s most intimate thoughts and feelings. Some eye miniatures were expressions of love, and some, like this, were expressions of loss. I like the way the light from the window reflected on this eye in the photographs, as if looking into her soul.