In 1785, Prince George of Wales fell in love with Maria Fitzherbert, a commoner. Because their love was forbidden, they had miniatures of their eyes painted for one another. They would carry these everywhere so that they could always gaze deeply into them without fear of being caught by the royal family. Even though Prince George was married to someone else, he was buried wearing Maria’s eye painting around his neck. Eye miniatures, or Lover’s Eyes, remained popular through Victorian times. They eventually took on a morbid quality and were worn as mourning jewelry (more on that here).
There’s something very appealing about carrying a part of your Love with you everywhere you go.
I’m participating in a show of eye miniatures in Germany. This diorama is in a vintage eye rinse cup; a beautiful woman as seen in her lover’s eye. The iris is translucent.