Along with what we currently have on display, The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection will open on Saturday, Oct. 6. The exhibition is the first of its kind in that it features solely lover’s eye jewelry, an expression of intimacy between lovers created and used primarily in the late 1700s and early 1800s in England. Secret lovers would have miniature portraits of each other’s eyes made into brooches, rings, pendants or bracelets, many of them depicting the eye and a wisp of hair, hinting at an identity but never revealing it. In most cases, the painted eye could only be recognized by intimately familiar couples, while others would merely see a fancy trinket. The trend of eye jewelry was started by the Prince of Wales at the time (later George IV), possibly to maintain a form of intimacy with his multiple mistresses. Eventually, these miniature marvels came to be used for family members as mementos or for mourning pieces, containing the eye of the dearly departed.
The collection, put together by David and Nan Skier, contains more than 100 objects, making it the largest collection of lover’s eyes in the world. The Birmingham Museum of Art organized the exhibition and created an iPad app to present alongside the collection, providing additional information about and magnifications of each personal work of art. GMOA’s Henry D. Green Curator of Decorative Arts Dale Couch will serve as the in-house curator of the exhibition, which is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.
Throughout the month of October we’ll celebrate the arrival of the exhibition; the Collectors of the Georgia Museum of Art will organize an exclusive dinner and private tour of the exhibition as soon as it opens on Oct. 6. What’s more is that Nan Skier, the collector, will lead the tour. Space is limited, so please call 706.542.GMOA (4662) to reserve a ticket! There will be another chance to receive a tour from both Skiers on Sunday, Oct. 7, during a Gallery Talk from 1 to 2 p.m. Additionally we’ll have a Family Day event on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, which will involve participants making their own spooky eye miniatures in time for Halloween. To cap it off there will be another Gallery Talk, “Cult of the Dead,” on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 2 to 3 p.m. with Tricia Miller, our head registrar, who will discuss trends in sentimentality and mourning such as lover’s eye jewelry, needle work, gravestone imagery and cemetery design.
If you would like to see priceless works of art or make some of your own, please feel free to come in at any time during our hours or plan to come to one of our events! We would be more than happy for you to stop by and enjoy the perks of October as much as we will!