Lorgnettes

Borsos, József - Lady with a Lorgnette - Romanticism - Oil on canvas - Portrait
Jozsef Borsos, Lady with a Lorgnette (1856)

A lorgnette is a pair of spectacles which are held to the eyes with a long handle, rather than being fitted over the ears.  The word is derived from the French word ‘lorgner’ to peer at. Lorgnettes were invented in England during the 1700s by a man called George Adams.  Lorgnettes were very popular throughout the Victorian era and were the preferred way for ladies to wear spectacles.  They continued to be worn through the 1920s and beyond, although they eventually came to be seen as something older ladies wore. Lorgnettes were often worn around the neck with a chain.  Often, lorgnettes were highly ornate and jeweled and were considered more of a piece of jewelry than just a practical item. Holding lorgnettes up to the eyes in a way that was just so was considered a perfect opportunity to convey comportment, style and finesse. They were a more feminine and streamlined look for stylish ladies than the spectacles that gentlemen wore.

File:Silver Lorgnette, circa 1909.jpg

A FRENCH GOLD, ENAMEL, AND GEM-SET LORGNETTE

French gold enamel and gem set lorgnette c. 1890
Christie’s Sale 2560

A BELLE EPOQUE SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND LORGNETTE

Belle Epoque Sapphire and Diamond Lorgnette
Christie’s Sale 2306

A pair of French Art Nouveau gold and diamond lorgnettes

A pair of French Art Nouveau gold and diamond lorgnettes
Christie’s Sale 5891

A pair of early 20th century diamond lorgnettes

A pair of early 20th century diamond lorgnettes
Christie’s Sale 5888

A pair of late 19th century gold and gem lorgnettes

A pair of late 19th century gold and gem lorgnettes
Christie’s Sale 5383

Resources / further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorgnette

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: