Jun 17, 2017

In the year 1812: On being a widow and the Lover's Eye

The war of 1812 isn't discussed much in the history books.  At lease, that I can remember. A few days again I encountered this woman at the Old Fort in Fort Wayne.  The Old Fort was up and running filled with actors portraying people from the time period.

As we walked towards the Fort we encountered a woman sitting in a tent with shear curtains all around it. It had several chairs inside so that when someone came in they could sit and chat a while. The woman was wearing very heavy white makeup, rouge, and thickly drawn eyebrows. During that time period the white foundation was made with lead and fats, which could be deadly. But beauty must come at a cost. Only the wealthy women during the 1800's wore this kind of makeup. 

She called herself Lady Liddington. On this day she was my history teacher. 

On her left hand there was a black onyx ring with a diamond in the middle to show others that her husband has passed away. A tiny pin fastened to her dress in the front contained a lock of hair from both she and her husband. A part of him will always be with her. The dark purple dress signifies that she is still mourning but not deep mourning. This also means that she is not interested in training another husband, because the first one was difficult enough. 

By the widow's side a miniature portrait of Lord Liddington was securely fastened into a picture frame and draped with a black scarf sitting neatly on a small table. The detail of the portrait was amazing for an item that was so small. Lady Liddington went on to say that during the same time period portraits were drawn of an eye. This eye miniature could be that of a child, spouse, lover, etc...These portraits could we worn as a bracelet, necklace, brooch, ring, or pendant. The fad began in the 1700's and the miniature became known as "Lover's Eye." Sometimes a lock of hair was incorporated into the portrait. This sounds a bit romantic to me.