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Spectacles and case

Object Number: 
INV.7522ab
Date: 
ca. 1800
Medium: 
Tortoise shell, glass; leather
Dimensions: 
Case: 1/2 x 1 3/4 x 5 in. ( 1.3 x 4.4 x 12.7 cm ) Overall (spectacles closed): 1/8 x 4 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. (0.3 x 11.4 x
Marks: 
written: on tag with spectacles: "Belonged to Mrs. Siddons/in 1810" embossed: on spectacles case: "PIKE & SON/OPTICIANS/618.BD.WAY N.Y."
Description: 
Tortoise shell "wig" spectacles with circular lenses connected by "C" bridge; adjustable turnpin temples with pivot, tapering to ends. Brown leather case with flap top with tab that fits into slot; case (of later date) stamped with optician's name.
Gallery Label: 
Sarah Siddons (1755-1831), a famous English actress noted for her beauty, is said to have worn these spectacles. Wigs, popular during the 1700s, presented a problem for spectacle wearers. The pressure of a wig on spectacle temples could press on the skull, causing discomfort. Wig spectacles, usually of tortoise shell, featured shorter temples which rested just in front of the ear. This pair has extension temples that could be kept folded when wearing wigs or extended to hook over the ears.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. Gardiner Pike, 1894
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group