|Curator of Design Arts Kory Rogers reminding himself of which pieces we've looked at.|
|One example of what's referred to as a reform-style glass eye. The capillaries are applied as glass threads to the white glass.|
|Doesn't it look like there are butterscotch starlight candies in this iris?|
Most of the eyes in this collection are of the reform style, originally developed in the 1880s by Dutch eye surgeon Hermann Snellen. Reform-style prosthetics are elliptically-shaped convex and hollow. Kory displayed one of these upside down in Supercool Glass to show how these were made. There are also a few examples of shell-style prosthetics in the group:
|Two shell-style prosthetics turned upside down.|
Not all glass doll eyes are globe-shaped or this realistic. Eighteenth-century examples of English glass doll eyes in Shelburne's collection are shaped something like cowrie shells. We get the best sense of that by looking at x-radiographs and CT scans.
|I think you get the best sense of the shape of the doll's eyes in profile. The tacks around the crown of the head hold a wig in place.|
|Here's a frontal view radiograph. The wood doll was made in England c. 1720.|
Of course, attempts at making realistic eyes in materials other than glass have a long history too. If you want to learn more, check out this post from our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania Museum's conservation lab and their recent investigations of how eyes were made in a group of Egyptian wooden sculptural heads.