An Edwardian period cased and spring mounted lorgnette
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3½ ins h x 5 ins w (9 x 13 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
MATERIALS: metal, glass
Here is a classic folding lorgnette which probably dates from the first part of the 20th century. It is difficult to date such items which did not change radically in design.
This example is made in gold tone metal decorated with ornate designs on the mount. They are incorporated into a small brown leather carrying case which is lettered in gold with: Sunray & Paaton, London.
The spectacles slide out sideways and fold in two in the middle with a small hinge.
The collage picture shows further examples of such costume accessories from contemporary illustrations.
A lorgnette is a pair of spectacles with a handle, used to hold them in place, rather than fitting over the ears or nose. The word lorgnette is derived from the French lorgner, to take a sidelong look at, and Middle French, from lorgne, squinting. The lorgnette was usually used as a piece of jewellery, rather than to enhance vision. Fashionable ladies usually preferred them to spectacles and often had them beautifully made and adorned.
These were very popular at masquerade parties and used often at the opera. They were worn popularly in the 19th century. The lorgnette was employed as a prop and affectation by elderly ladies who wished to set others “in their place” by examining them through the lenses. Think Lady Bracknell in “The Importance of Being Ernest”.
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Early 20th century spring mounted cased lorgnette