Georgian Mourning Eye Miniature
From a private collection, a fine watercolour eye miniature, under crystal and set to a gold brooch inscribed to reverse : Isa Murray 1810 Married Jas Denniston 1835, with a weave of hair in a locket compartment. The portrait is of a child’s eye in dark clouds, symbolic of mourning. Exquisite execution of a most poignant subject, possibly by the hand of J. C. D. Engleheart. It measures 1 and 1/4 inches by 1and 1/8 inches. 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.