Chart of Heymann Collection Discovered at the Musée National de la Renaissance (The Eyeglass Cases, Part 1)

This is by far the absolute greatest collection of hand-made eyeglass cases in the world. An advanced collection, either museum or private, might have a half dozen examples at most. Here at the Chateau we are referring to about six dozen wonderful unique examples that Madame Heymann located and saved and assembled all together. Enjoy studying each one, front and back.


WOODEN EYEGLASS CASES AT THE CHATEAU (Part 1)

EYEGLASS CASES MADE OF OTHER MATERIALS (Part 2)


(All images on this page courtesy Jean-Marie Devriendt, copyright © 2008)

"E" Refers to Musée National de la Renaissance, Le Chateau d'Ecouen
"Cl" Refers to Musée de Cluny

(Move your mouse over any of the pictures below to see a larger image.)

#

OBJECT(s)

LOCATION + INVENTORY NUMBER

TIMEFRAME

DESCRIPTION

PHOTOS

ADDITIONAL FEATURES + COMMENTS

WOODEN EYEGLASS CASES AT THE CHATEAU
1 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.045 18th century tri-lobed carved wooded case, shows two beardless men in a medallion, birds on either side, probably Flanders in origin, for two pair of glasses but only one pair of baleen spectacles are present

 
2 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.034 turn of the 17th century oblong shape, carved wood, for one pair of Nuremberg specs with maker’s impression along the edge 
Much symbolism both sides (needs interpretation)

Maker's name along the outer edge need to be determined

Case is probably earlier than the glasses
3 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.046 17th century tri-lobed carved wooden case, shows two beardless men in a medallion with head, on either side, appears to be for two pair of Nuremberg spectacles (only one is present), one brass stop is missing

 
4 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.027 late 17th century In the form of a vase with a flower motive,  carved, wood, brass hinge. Origin: from Flanders (geographical region located in present day Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, for a single pair of Nuremberg single wire spectacles

6 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.040 17th century carved wood with one side a young beardless man in a medallion with two dog-like animals with flowering plants emanating from their mouths, the other side has an older bearded man in a medallion with two winged individuals, appears to be for two pair of Nuremberg specs (only one is present), .

This case appears in her book all by itself on page 50 of Part 2
8 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.059 circa 1700 minimally caved wooden case with brass hardware, for two pair of glasses.
In this particular instance one is baleen and the other is single wire Nuremberg spectacles (so it is very suspicious and definitely one of these is not original)
9 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.043 late 17th century tri-lobed carved wood showing flower vase with two male portraits on the front and then a winged angel with two male portraits on the reverse, for two pair of baleen spectacles (only one is present)

 
14 eyeglass case E Cl 21.058 circa 1700 pear-shaped decorative wooden case, front carving of a men’s portrait medallion with scrolled vines leading up to a flowering plant. Reverse carving: a woman’s portrait medallion with scrolled vines leading up to a flowering plant. , circa 1700

Made for one pair of folding nose spectacles but the case is empty.
15 eyeglass case and folding nose spectacles E Cl 21.080 early 18th century unusual shaped wooden case with a turnpin opening, front: carved scene shows a man walking through the woods being guided by his faithful dog.  “Loyalty Guides Me”.  The back shows fleur-de-lis with a crown above, France. For a pair of tortoiseshell nose spectacles, hinged at the nosebridge.

Inside the case it says, “this case belongs to me Tangui (jonqui) de roques”
16 eyeglass case and folding nose spectacles E Cl 21.057 late 17th century gourde (flask) shaped wooden case, front carving shows a man’s portrait (crowned with laurels) in a medallion, with scrolls leading up to a plant with a small flower at the top, the back is similar but without the portrait, inside are 17th century metal-framed nose spectacles hinged at the bridge.

Madame Heymann evidently acquired this in December 1906 
18 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.038 17th century vertically oval carved wooden case, front: large relief profile of older bearded man, back: relief profile of young beardless man, made for two pair of spectacles but only one pair of wire spectacles is present, brass hardware but both brass stops are missing

 
19 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.037 turn of the 17th century somewhat rectangular carved wooden case, front: large potted flowering plant in the lower middle with other plants and flowers and even two birds, back: numerous flowering plants and scrolled pattern, iron hardware, metal framed glasses appear quite old.


The lenses appear clouded which may be from prolonged contact with moisture.
20 eyeglass case and nose spectacles (two pair) 12850, from the Du Sommerard collection 17th century vertically oval carved wooden case, front: large relief profile of a young man with a headdress including a branch and leaves, back: relief profile of young man wearing a helmet with feathers, for two pair of baleen spectacles and both are present.

Cases for two pair of baleen spectacles are unusual. Perhaps these are profiles to represent Roman Emperors.

The Du Sommerard Collection was the very collection of the family Du Sommerard, who were the founders of the Musée de Cluny. In 1977, the collection post-1500 was moved to the castle of Ecouen, which became the "Musée National de la Renaissance". That is why the spectacles collection also moved to Ecouen, being dated later than 1500. The medieval collection stayed in the Musée de Cluny.

22 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.035 turn of the 17th century rectangular shaped exquisitely carved wooden case, front: a large crown above with several bird-like animals and also a face below, back: crossed arms with a large crown above and several faces and animal like forms, for one pair of baleen spectacles
 
23 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.070 early 18th century somewhat rectangular in shape carved wooden box, front shows a grotesque face mask including branches with leaves and also a scroll pattern from the sides, back has some interlaced scrolls and a few small flowers brass hinges but with an iron closure, for one pair of green-tinted baleen spectacles
 
25 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.036 17th century carved wooden case, both front and back show a bearded man in a medallion surrounded by a scroll pattern and also some flowers. Site: Allemagne. Made for two pair of wire nose spectacles but only one is present and it has the name George Hartmann along the edge and Nurnberg along the nosebridge.

These particular glasses with the maker's name are likely mid-18th century and are probably not original to this case.
26 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.041 17th century tri-lobed carved wooden case, front: a portrait of a woman in a medallion surrounded by several scrolls and couple of flowers, back: central portrait of a man surrounded by scrolls and a few flowers while to the right is a woman’s portrait, inside for one pair of eyeglasses which have horn rims and an arched steel nosebridge. 

 
27 eyeglass case E Cl 21.051 17th century carved wooden case, front: portrait of a crowned man in a medallion with horns on either side leading to another face with scrolls and flowers, back: a portrait of a man with other plants and decorations, perhaps a unicorn and a star in the central section, probably from the Flanders Region of Belgium, green felt interior, this appears to have been made for one pair of baleen spectacles

 
29 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.067 17th century fairly simple open wooden case, shaped almost like a figure of eight, basic circles on the front, nearly blank back, for a pair of metal framed early nose spectacles

These glasses appear early with metal frames, similar to inventory 21.037
30 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.054 18th century Wooden case with pen drawing on the front, the conversion of St Paul (where he became a follower of Christ); on the other side, a farmer or woodcutter and buildings in the back. This holds a pair of wire nose spectacles.
 
31 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.048 early 18th century wooden case shaped somewhat like a figure of eight, stippled with large scrolls front and back open top, for a pair of wire nose spectacles
 
32 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.085 dated "1775" Rectangular wooden case‚ “J-B.C.“ is the carved inscription on the reverse, slide block opening, for a pair of baleen framed eyeglasses
 
33 eyeglass case with nose spectacles E Cl 21.086 dated "1788" wooden case in the form of a book, geometric motives on the front, “H C K” is the carved inscription on the reverse also with geometric motives, Swiss, flip-top opening, for a pair of wire nose spectacles
 
34 eyeglass case with nose spectacles E Cl 21.039 17th century oval wooden carved case, decorated, front: profile of a man with two birds below and vines leading up to toothed-animals (dogs) above, back: profile of a bishop in a medallion with a cherub below and another above, brass hardware, felt inside, for a pair of wire spectacles, with “London” etched on each lens

 
35 eyeglass case for nose spectacles E Cl 21.042 17th century tri-lobed carved wooden case, decorated, front: three crowned profiles in medallions with a cherub below and scrolls with flowers, back; three profiles in medallions with a cherub below and scrolls with flowers, from the Flanders Region of Belgium, green felt interior, for a pair of wire spectacles

 
37 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.033 17th century mostly rectangular but with rounded corners, sculpted boxwood, front: two feathered bird-like creature biting the neck of a smaller feathered bird, to the right and to the left, other symbols, back: central plant with leaf-like structures, two birds and four faces, for a pair of wire nose spectacles. 
In a 1900 publication Madame Heymann dated this 1658, but it likely is earlier.

There may be important symbolism here also
38 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.044 17th century tri-lobed carved wooden case, front: portrait of a bearded man with a headdress of leaves and also two winged animals with flowering plants in their mouths, the back has no carving, appears be for two wire spectacles with one present, however the 2nd brass stop may be missing

 
39 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.084 early 18th century rectangular wooden case, large relief carving of a bearded man in a medallion on the front, the back has no carving,  wood slide opening, holds a pair of baleen spectacles
 
40 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.071 18th century in the form of a valance, carved wooden case, front: a woman appears to hold a cross and a book, back: the same woman is now holding an anchor and a large bird, two shells are seen on the carved top, wooden slide block opening, for a pair of baleen spectacles       

 
41 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.053 18th century in the form of a figure of eight, carved wooden case, round medallions show large flowering branches, similar carving front and back, slots for two pair of nose spectacles but only one is present

 
42 eyeglass case and nose spectacles E Cl 21.050 probably 17-18th century carved wooden case somewhat in the shape of a figure of eight, front and back show large clam shells and scrolls on a stippled surface, with an unusually large handle, for a single pair of wire nose spectacles
 

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