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Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte



Carved wood, velvet padding, brass and convex glass.


Handpainted on card.


Germany, 19th century. Signed.


Wear consistent with age.


145mm x 180mm


Paired with 'Napoleon Bonaparte'.

  • A portrait miniature

    is a miniature portrait painting, usually executed in gouache, watercolor, or enamel. Portrait miniatures developed out of the techniques of the miniatures in illuminated manuscripts, and were popular among 16th-century elites, mainly in England and France, and spread across the rest of Europe from the middle of the 18th century, remaining highly popular until the development of daguerreotypes and photography in the mid-19th century. They were usually intimate gifts given within the family, or by hopeful males in courtship, but some rulers, such as James I of England, gave large numbers as diplomatic or political gifts. They were especially likely to be painted when a family member was going to be absent for significant periods, whether a husband or son going to war or emigrating, or a daughter getting married.


    The first miniaturists used watercolour to paint on stretched vellum, or (especially in England) on playing cards trimmed to the shape required. During the second half of the 17th century, vitreous enamel painted on copper became increasingly popular, especially in France. In the 18th century, miniatures were painted with watercolour on ivory, which had now become relatively cheap. As small in size as 40 mm × 30 mm, portrait miniatures were often fitted into lockets, inside watch-covers or pieces of jewelry so that they could be carried on the person. Others were framed with stands or hung on a wall,
    or fitted into snuff box covers.


    The advent of photography in the mid-19th century changed the demand for miniature portraits with many miniaturists moving away from painting miniatures altogether, although there have been some brief revivals of miniature painting from time to time. The rarity of such works from the pre 20th century has led to in more recent times their collectability by many avid collectors.

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