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Eye Miniatures

Memorandum Case with a Portrait of a Woman's Left Eye, c. 1800, English

Though they look surprisingly modern, eye miniatures first became popular in the late 1700s. With their unusual, cropped compositions these intimate portraits preserved the anonymity of the sitter to most viewers and were popular love tokens. Typically worn as jewelry and kept close to the body, these objects could be poignant reminders of distant loved ones.