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Archive for November, 2013

Recently three 19th century portraits appeared in Pinterest of individuals wearing eyeglasses. They struck me as being remarkably unique, in that so few people at the time are shown wearing these accessories. The first shows a Southern belle in Louisiana. She wears the light-framed oval shaped spectacles so popular during that era.

Jean-Joseph Vaudechamp portrait of Mrs. Antoien Julien Meffre-Rouzan, c. 1839, New Orleans

Jean-Joseph Vaudechamp portrait of Mrs. Antoien Julien Meffre-Rouzan, c. 1839, New Orleans

During the 1830’s and afterwards, a new
inexpensive metal gained popularity for the manufacture of
spectacle frames and many other items. In New York City in
1829, German chemist Louis Feuchtwanger introduced the alloy
“German silver”, composed of varying amounts of copper,
zinc and nickel. Spectacle frames of this material became widely
available after 1835. The cost and durability of German silver
spectacle frames made them very popular…History on Your Face

blondel 1835

Portrait of a Man 1835, Oil on canvas by Merry Joseph Blondel

This gentleman could be a lawyer or accountant, even Mary Bennet’s husband. What say you?

Portrait of a Lady, 1835

Portrait of a Lady, 1835

The woman in this last image could be Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice all grown up.

Love these paintings. Here is my Pinterest board for 18th and 19th Century Art. Enjoy: http://www.pinterest.com/janeaustenworld/18th-19th-century-art/

This article from Historic Eyewear discusses19th century American spectacles in detail.

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