Notes on collections and events at the RIHS
In 1834,Timothy Ruggles Green had this “lover’s eye” miniature made for Cornelia E. Arnold, whom he would marry the following year. The image is thought to have been made by artist John Wood Dodge, born in New York in 1807. Dodge, apprenticed to a sign painter at the age of 16, studied informally at the National Academy of Design; after 1830, his work was regularly shown there until he left the city in 1838 for the South.
Lover’s eyes were popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries among the affluent classes in England, Europe and America. They were first popularized in 1785, when George IV, then Prince of Wales, sent one to the widow Maria Fitzherbert as a token of his love.
Timothy Ruggles Green, the scion of a family based in Worcester and Providence, died in Whitehall, Georgia in 1840, but he and Cornelia had two children born and raised in Providence, Frances Mary Green Wayland, and Arnold Green. Arnold Green’s most famous son may well Theodore Francis Green, the senator from Rhode Island.
Last summer, we digitized the sampler collection, which you can view online here. This summer, we chose the miniatures for digitization, and they’ll be coming to an online gallery. Cataloging and photographing the collections is always interesting. After all, it’s not every day you find a painting of a senator’s grandfather’s eye!
~Kirsten Hammerstrom, Director of Collections