Lover’s Eyes

USD $50.00

Out of stock



ISBN: 978-1-911282-93-8

280 pages

180 x 180 mm (7 ⅛ x 7 ⅛ in)

304 colour

The Skier Collection, Birmingham, Alabama

September 2021


“A sight for sore eyes and a delight to behold.”—James Panero, The New Criterion

A richly illustrated cache of over 130 of the bejeweled, hand-painted treasures.”—Lauren Moya Ford, Hyperallergic

“Lets us peer at one of the most extensive private collections of these weird and wonderful 18th- and 19th-century works—most of which stare right back.”—Anne Wallentine, Artillery Magazine

Jewels relaunched by Bridgerton, reviewed in La Repubblica

“Should definitely be on the shelf of anyone interested in Georgian and Victorian jewellery, sentimental jewellery or European jewellery!”—Sigrid van Roode,

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Edited by Elle Shushan
Contributions by Graham Boettcher, Stephen Lloyd and Elle Shushan

Until the early 2000s, little had been written about eye miniatures or “Lover’s Eyes”, and their short-lived popularity at the end of the 18th- and early 19th-centuries, when hand-painted portraits of single human eyes were set in jewellery, or created to memorialize a deceased loved one. This new expanded and updated edition of the 2012 volume The Look of Love examines their role in the broader context of Georgian and early Victorian portrait miniatures; and looks in detail at the creation, and appeal, of these extraordinary objects.

Dr and Mrs. David A. Skier’s collection of eye miniatures is one of the most complete such collections of this genre of miniature painting anywhere in existence. This volume features over 130 pieces from the Skier Collection, with 36 extraordinary newly acquired pieces, including two of the three known existing “lovers’ lips”, and six examples of a delightful sub-category known as “Flower Eyes”. There are four new illustrated essays: on forgeries and fakes of lovers’ eyes, on “Flower Eyes”, on the persistence of the eye image which continues the tradition of lovers’ eyes, and an essay on the eye miniatures created by Richard Cosway.

Author biographies

Elle Shushan is a specialist dealer, author, lecturer and museum consultant. She is a member of the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America, the British Antique Dealers’ Association, CINOA, the Private Art Dealers Association and the Association of Historians of American Art.

Stephen Lloyd is curator of the Derby Collection at Knowsley Hall, Merseyside. From 1993 to 2009 he was Assistant Keeper and then Senior Curator at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where he co-curated the exhibition The Intimate Portrait: Drawings, Miniatures and Pastels from Ramsay to Lawrence.

Graham Corray Boettcher is the director of the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama.

Table of Contents

  • Collectors’ Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • The Artist’s Eye by Elle Shushan
  • Eye Miniatures by Richard Cosway by Stephen Lloyd
  • Symbol & Sentiment: Lover’s Eyes and the Language of Gemstones by Graham Boettcher
  • Floriography by Elle Shushan
  • Fake of Fashion by Elle Shushan
  • Love Never Dies by Graham Boettcher
  • Catalogue of the Exhibition by Graham C. Boettcher, Nan Skier, and Elle Shushan, with the assistance of Laura Wallace and Maggie Keenan
  • Index
  • Author biographies