Lover's Eyes

13 Oct 2021

Lover's Eyes: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection by Elle Shushan, Stephen Lloyd and Graham Boettcher

Lover's Eyes
Lover's Eyes

This richly illustrated new book by Elle Shushan, specialist dealer, author, lecturer and museum consultant in the field of portrait miniatures, examines Lover's Eyes: portraits of single human eyes made to memorialise a loved one. The book features pieces from the collection of Dr and Mrs Skier - with over 130 examples of Lover's Eyes from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and some very special contemporary works including an extraordinary group by Derrick Guild. Derrick's work features on pages 110-113. You can purchase a copy of Lover's Eyes: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection here.

Lover's Eyes

Portrait after Kruseman, Hodges and Batoni

Eye: After Jan Adam Kruseman’s portrait of Alida Christina Assink, 1833, Rijkesmuseum Amsterdam, oil on Linen, 6.4 x 5.1 cm; Ear and Necklace: After Charles Howard Hodges portrait of Alida Gerbade, 1821, Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden, oil on linen, 11.5 x 9 cm; Mouth: After Pompeo Batoni’s portrait of Frederick Lord North, 1753, National Portrait Gallery, London, oil on linen, 10.2 x 7 cm, £5,800

'This portrait grouping consists of details from 3 different 18th Century portraits. There are several ideas behind the making of these groupings. Firstly, I connect with a particular portrait, it could be an emotional or technical response. I then chose a detail from the portrait and paint my version, I try to remain as close as possible to the original, but inevitably something of both my hand and the original artist’s remains.

I reconfigure many different details to arrive at a portrait that feels right. The genders are often mixed. I love the visual language of European portrait painting, how successful techniques and skills would influence other portrait painters in other countries, an evolving European language was developed over several centuries. You can almost trace the stylistic /genetic influences in portraits.

I like to think of these works as being a kind of wall jewellery, some collectors are now wearing my details as brooches or necklaces, replacing them back on the wall or box after wearing. The idea of the body adorned with portrait details is fascinating and harkens back to the Lover’s Eye paintings that were often worn as broaches or rings.'
- Derrick Guild

Lover's Eyes
Lover's Eyes

We do all store in our memory the key features of the people we encounter. There are two kinds of memorialising: in the mind and in the locket. Guild, through his fragments of the salient features of individuals, emulates the way in which we see, and suggests that the fragment is sufficient for us to retain, in our 'mind's eye', the image of those we want to remember 'ever after'.

Julie Lawson, Ever After, Festival Exhibition, 2019

You can purchase a copy of Lover's Eyes: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection here.

Derrick Guild is currently working towards a special presentation of work for The Gallery called Natural History planned for October 2022 and you can view current available work here.

The Gallery hosted Derrick's last solo exhibition in August 2019 titled Ever After and you can purchase a copy of the accompanying publication here.

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