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Lorgnette
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Title: Lorgnette
Identifier: 2003.3.24
Donor: Bianca de la Roche
Item Date: 1900-1930
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: Sterling silver lorgnette glasses with a small button on the handle which causes the lens to pop out to eye glass form. The handle has an ornate black design, which has a floral pattern on either side of the handle. Inside the hinge (only visible when glasses are open), there is a stamp of a small butterfly, which might be the manufacturer's insignia.

A lorgnette is two lenses in a frame held by the user with a lateral handle. It was an 18th century development by Englishman George Adams. The lorgnette was probably a later development of the scissors-glass, which was a double eyeglass on a handle. With the scissors-glass the two branches of the handle came together under the nose and looked as if they were about to cut it off it is because of this that they were known as binocles-ciseaux or scissors glasses. The frame and handle of lorgnettes were frequently artistically embellished. They were used mostly by women and more often as a piece of jewelry than as a visual aid. The lorgnette remained popular with women until the end of the 19th century, as many women did not wish to wear spectacles. From:http://www.midlandeye.com/other/spectacles_history.php

This lorgnette belonged to Mazo de la Roche her companion Caroline Clement. It was donated by Bianca de la Roche, third wife of the adopted son of Mazo, René. René was adopted in England by Mazo in 1931 and died in 1984.

Mazo Louise Roche was born in Newmarket in 1879. She was the only child of Alberta and William Roche. In 1927, her novel "Jalna" published under the name Mazo de la Roche won the $10,000 first prize in a competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly, this win led to the publishing of a series of novels about the Whiteoak family of Jalna. The Jalna series was exceedingly popular, selling thousands of copies, with "Jalna" being turned into a movie and a television series. Mazo lived in Trail Cottage, which was located on property that had originally belonged to the Benares Estate. Mazo was friends with the Harrises and had visited Benares on several occasions. It has been speculated that the Benares House was Mazo's inspiration for the "Whiteoaks of Jalna". Mazo died on 12 July 1961. See: C.J. Taylor, 'de la Roche, Mazo' "Canadian Encyclopedia, 2000 Edition" (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999), 639.
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