Thursday, February 20, 2014

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Miniature of the Eye of Princess Victoria, 1857

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

We’ve looked at a variety of miniature eyes. This beautiful example is attributed to Sir William Charles Ross (1794-1860) and depicts the eye of Victoria, Princess Royal (1840-1901), the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Princess Royal would later become Empress Frederick III of Germany.

This watercolor on ivory miniature is laid on card and mounted in a gold pendant set with a ruby. The Royal Collection lists the creation of the piece as 1857 and notes that it was commissioned by Queen Victoria.

Typically these miniature eyes were given as tokens to a male suitor. The date of creation puts this piece smack dab in the middle of the engagement of Victoria and Albert’s daughter to the Prince Frederick of Prussia (The German Emperor and King of Prussia) who were engaged in 1856 and married in 1858. It’s a safe bet that this miniature was intended for the future Kaiser Frederick III. Whether or not he received it, I don’t know, but it’s back in the Royal Collection.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
via The Royal Collection Trust
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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