Virtual art gallery

Explore some of the paintings and sculpture owned by the College of Optometrists...

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Explore these works of art in the College collection...

Saint Jerome

Translator of the 'Vulgate' Bible into Latin and accepted since Medieval times as the patron saint of spectacle makers.

St Jerome in his study

This bright but (to modern eyes) ultimately depressing picture is a memento mori painting designed to make the viewer reflect upon the transience of life and the swift passage of time.

Santa Lucia (St Lucy)

One of the more disturbing pictures in the College's collection features a beautiful young woman carrying a plate with a ghastly surprise laid out on it. This is Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) with eyes both in her head and on the plate. Perhaps we should call her 'four eyes'?

The misers

Our picture combines two types of painting - genre scenes of misers (ultimately derived from 'The Banker and his Wife' by Quentin Metsys (1514) now in the Louvre, Paris) and seventeenth century Dutch still-life scenes.

The money changers

Seen this one before? Two men are seen counting money, but who are they and why do they look strangely familiar?

A Venetian procurator

One of the earliest commissioned portraits to feature spectacles.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo, the great Pisan astronomer is shown seated, holding his telescope whilst beside him lie other accoutrements...but is everything as it should be in this history painting of the heaven gazer?

An old man examining a young man's hand

A medical professional, or a palm reader?

Watching a paper wind toy

An optical puzzle. There seems little consensus as to what kind of object is shown as the centrepiece.

The politician

Benjamin Franklin has long been credited with the invention of bifocals, but whether this is historically accurate or merely a partisan myth is a matter of debate. Most serious historians now agree that, whilst it is a genuine possibility, the hard evidence is simply lacking.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (Self-portrait)

A curtain fell across him...

A certain cure

A painting in the College collection is significant for showing antique spectacles still in use.

George Thompson Esq

This man is short-sided. (Excuse pun).

The Teacher's Spectacles

The College art collections comprise works of sculpture as well as paintings. A particularly fine bronze is entitled 'Lunettes du Professeur' by the French sculptor Emile-Edmond Peynot.

Doctor Cupid

This is a small but quirky Meissen figurine from circa 1750 which goes under the name of 'Doctor Cupid'. He must be the original Love Doctor, predating Barry White by over two centuries.

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