’ The lifespan of passion is brief
And fades in the blink
Of a lover’s eye.’
- Uriah Hamilton.
This stunningexhibition explores the little-known subject of “lover’s eyes,” hand-painted miniatures of single human eyes set in jewelry and given as tokens of affection or remembrance. In 1785, when the Prince of Wales secretly proposed to Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert with a miniature of his own eye, he inspired an aristocratic fad for exchanging eye portraits mounted in a wide variety of settings including brooches, rings, lockets, and toothpick cases. With over 100 examples, the collection of Dr. and Mrs. David A. Skier of Birmingham is the largest in the world. This exhibition offers an unprecedented look at these unusual and intriguing works of art.