Antique Collecting Series #5: Portrait Miniatures

If you have been following my Antique Collecting posts over the years, you can see I have many collections.

I have always been attracted to women in portraiture.
Since I live in a small home, more like a cottage, my wall space is limited.

I started collecting early miniature portraits on ivory back when I lived in an apartment when I was single. They took up very little room and en masse, made up a lovely collection!

Ivory miniature portraits were commissioned before photography was invented. A way to remember a loved one. Many early pieces had a lock of the person's hair behind the framed portrait.

The size is usually 3" x 4", but can vary an inch or two.

The medium was usually oil on ivory, however, there are some portraits that were painted on wood or paper.

These small paintings can be very pricey, depending on the frame and how fancy the portrait is done. Portraits of children have the most value.

If you look closely, this beautiful woman is actually holding a miniature portrait of a loved one in her hand.
A picture within a picture!

Most of these portraits date from 1820-1840 and are of English or American origin.
The French portraits are much fancier, and the women are usually adorned in big white wigs.

Sometimes, you get lucky, and the name of the sitter is written on the back with the year, but usually she is just an anonymous woman, and I can only imagine the life she led.

This beautiful lady in the emerald green dress is "Julie Margherite 1802", probably the year of her birth.

This lovely lady is Johanna Mollner, a German young girl who is visiting Naples on holiday, obviously from a well to do family.

It says 1811, and 1845, probably the year of her visit or death. You can see Mount Vesuvius in the backround!

I hang them in nooks on my staircase, and in cabinets.

The gal in the bonnet is American, you can tell by her clothing.

This woman has her King Charles Spaniel with her, and is a British sea captain's wife.

Lady Montague. Oh, pardon me.

They are my old friends, and I honor their memory, whomever they were!

They are all beautiful women to me.


Anonymous said…
Dear Stacey, I have been meaning to write for such a long time because I follow this blog religiously and have made 85% of the recipes you post. I am a huge fan. You and I have so much in common, it has become a huge joke among my family and friends. We have the same taste in food, same opinions about cooking practices, same love of France, and similar family backgrounds. Almost same birthday and from your posts, similar personalities. No, I'm not a stalker. But today's post makes me wonder if you like literary fiction. Have you read The Goldfinch? If not, I bet you'd like it. It involves antique furniture restoration and the world of people involved in the trade of antiques generally. Thank you for your blog. I truly love it.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Stacey - I love, love, love those mini portraits - especially the one with the background of Mt. Vesuvius. The ones that have some identification are really wonderful. It's like having an instant family ancestry. Do you sell these in your shop? Re: anonymous' comment, I can't wait to read The Goldfinch - long book, but well worth it from what everyone tells me.
mil said…
How come I didn't know abot these beauties? Things I learn every day about my DIL. Not only is she a great cook (thanks for the dinners) she gets an A in history, research and taste!
no pun intended.
Stacey Snacks said…
Thanks for the nice comment.........I am NOT a fiction reader, in fact I told my friend, who is a published urban fantasty writer, that I DISLIKE Fiction, just the other day!

Ok, so we are not twins after all!
Happy New Year!

xo Stacey
Debby in Tacoma said…
Stacey: Thank you for sharing...vey interesting.
Veronique said…
I love your antique posts and wish you would do more, since I am not a cook, nor a collector, however, I love learning about these beautiful objets.

Merci and Bonne Santé Stacey
Bluebird NY said…
Thanks for the information about your lovely miniatures. I always admired them when visiting your home...fave of course is the lady and her dog. xo
Eileen said…
Oh, Stacey, these are absolutely beautiful portraits! What a wonderful collection you have. Truly enjoyed seeing them.
They are beautiful old friends. You have such a nice collection! Thanks for showing.
Oh, Oh, Oh.....I wish I could fondle the frames and just stare at the images in person. This has taken my breath away....what a lovely post, and your amazing appreciation and honor of your collection deepens my admiration of you. Many thanks because this will keep me smiling for some time.
Again, Ah.....Mil has returned! Where have I been? so happy to see her posts again.
AdriBarr said…
What a positively breathtaking collection. Oh, but I would be so curious about all of them. Thanks for sharing. They really are glorious.
Rebecca said…
I have had portraits done of both my children... I think I will add a lock of their hair behind each...
priyanka dave said…
Thanks for the information about your lovely miniatures. I always admired them when visiting your home...fave of course is the lady and her dog. xo