Optical Instruments > Spectacles & Eye Glasses

19th Century Silver and Tortoise-Shell Hinged Lorgnette Eyeglasses

Item#: OIS623



The case of this exquisite lorgnette (repaired) was made from tortoise-shell with applied decorative scrollwork. The frame, with a hinge in the bridge center, was made from silver with oblong lenses. A small ring is affixed to the outer end of the case, through which a small chain or ribbon could be pulled. The ladies used to attach the lorgnette to their bodice and wore it as a brooch. The French optician M. Lepage invented the ‘Hinged Lorgnette' in 1818 and called it ‘face-a-main brisee’. Artists were designing lorgnettes as high quality ornaments and by mid 19th century it became the favorite European optical aid.Provenance: From the Orr collection, Inventory No. 599. Hugh Orr (1905 - 2002) was a collector and curator of the British Optical Association Museum. In 1985 he published the book ‘Illustrated History of Antique Spectacles’.