Lorgnettes, Bologna, Italy, 1857

1857 in Bologna

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Short transverse folding single fold spectacles, hand, ivory, ornately decorated in snap lid leather case, made by Ernesto, Bologna, 1857

The upper and middle classes in the 1800s favoured lorgnettes. These spectacles distinguished the wearer from cheaper, plainer designs. Lorgnettes are designed to be handheld. These are ornately carved from ivory. Ivory was expensive. Such a high level of craftsmanship indicates a wealthy owner. Only the wealthy could afford custom-made glasses.

The lenses fold in half at the nose bridge and then slot into the handle. They are kept in place with a catch. The case has a carved fish design with a mother of pearl centre. The case lid snaps shut and is kept in place by a catch. The size and delicate decoration of the spectacles indicate a female owner. Printed inside the case are the maker’s name, Ernesto, and his place of work, Bologna, Italy.


Object Number:
glass, ivory, silk, velvet and wood
handle (overall): 84 mm x 13 mm
H.D.C.D.: 63 mm
frame (overall): 110 mm
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • eyeglass

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.