New Book | Lover’s Eyes

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 27, 2022

This is an updated and expanded version of the 2012 exhibition catalogue. From Giles:

Elle Shushan, ed., with additional contributions by Graham Boettcher and Stephen Lloyd, Lover’s Eyes: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection (London: Giles, 2022), 280 pages, ISBN: 978-1911282938, £40 / $50.

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.

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.


Collectors’ Preface

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 Boettcher, Nan Skier, and Elle Shushan, with the assistance of Laura Wallace and Maggie Keenan

Author biographies

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