The picture shows an early 19th century pair of scissor spectacles consisting of a silver engraved lens holder folding into an agate case with gold chased design. Although items like this may conjure up thoughts of grand aristocrats their origns were completely the opposite, being the visual device of choice for republican revolutionaries on the Continent.
At this period little attention was paid to pupillary distance (PD), the distance between the lenses, so the lateral movement of the fitting, akin to the cutting action of a pair of scissors, could have been of great benefit to the user. Napoleon Bonaparte used a pair to correct his myopia whilst his brother Jerome, later King of Westphalia, owned a pair of finest ducat gold with decorative engraving and a twisted gold chain. The majority of surviving examples date from about 1810-1840, many bearing French assay marks. They were used for both near and distance viewing and were held from below, necessitating the placing of the hand over the lower part of the face. The natural development from this awkward stance was the universal introduction of side-held hand frames.
Later scissor spectacles had no handle as such. You just held them at the pivot. Such spectacles were still on sale in 1900. Around 1890 another kind of spectacle to flourish in the hand became available. Fan spectacles were designed for ladies of elegance to use as a multifunctional accessory. They were not, however, designed for illicit peeping unlike the spyglass fans of a century earlier.