The Eye of Princess Charlotte of Wales, 1796 - 1817.

About this artwork

Princess Charlotte was the only child of George, Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent and George IV), and Princess (later Queen) Caroline. She married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1816. A difficult pregnancy was followed by a fifty-hour labour which resulted in a still-born son; the princess died five hours later on 6 November 1817. These two deaths caused an outbreak of national mourning and ended the direct line of succession for George III. This eye-miniature is remarkable not only for the circumstances of its commission as a memorial after the death of Princess Charlotte, but also as a very rare example where the sitter’s identity is known. Furthermore, it is exceptionally rare for an eye-miniature to be displayed on top of the hair of the sitter.

Charlotte Jones

Charlotte Jones

Jones moved to London to study miniature painting following the death of her father. She worked with the fashionable artist, Richard Cosway and became one of the best imitators of his small-scale work, with Cosway teaching her “to add softness and delicacy to her naturally vigorous touch”. She exhibited her miniatures, mostly painted on ivory, at the Royal Academy from 1801-23. In 1808 she was appointed ‘Miniature Painter to the Princess Charlotte of Wales’, and painted a series of twelve miniatures of the princess at different stages of her life.