1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Miniature
MINIATURE. The word “miniature,” derived from the Latin minium, red lead, has been technically employed, in the first instance, to describe a picture in an ancient or medieval manuscript; the simple decoration of the early codices having been “miniated” or delineated with that pigment. The generally small scale of the medieval pictures has led secondly to a pseudo-etymological confusion of the term with “minuteness” and to its application to “paintings in little”; it is now used mainly in this sense, and is ordinarily applied to a painting on a very small scale, usually a portrait, and by analogy to anything on a very small scale.
1. Miniatures in Ancient and Medieval MSS.—The part played by the miniature in the scheme of the ornamentation of MSS., in the early centuries of the Christian era and in the middle ages, is dealt with in the article on Illuminated MSS. In the present article will be discussed the development and changes which it underwent, in different ages and in different countries, both in its technical treatment and in its leading characteristics. The subject divides itself into two distinct portions, the classical and the medieval, between which there lies the 'great separating space of the early middle ages, which affords but scanty material to connect them. When, however, we have advanced into the middle ages, we are no longer at a loss; and we can follow the later development of the miniature through all its changes in the various schools of western Europe down to its transition into the modern picture. The importance of the study of the miniature has perhaps hardly received in the past the recognition which it merits. The history of painting cannot be perfectly understood without a knowledge of the rise and progress of the art of miniature painting in MSS; and examples of the art still survive in an abundance which frescoes and paintings in the large cannot rival. Modern methods of photography have brought within the reach of the student material which in earlier generations was not accessible; and consequently a juster conception can be formed of the position which the miniature holds in the history of art than was possible before.
The earliest examples that have descended to us are closely connected in style and treatment with the pictorial art of the later Roman classical period. In fact they are separated from that period by only two or three centuries, and they still follow its traditions. The oldest specimens of all are the series of coloured drawings or miniatures cut from an illustrated MS. of the Iliad and now in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, which there is good reason for placing as early as the 3rd century. In these pictures there is a considerable variety in the quality of the drawing, but there are many notable instances of fine figure-drawing, quite classical in sentiment, showing that the earlier art still exercised its influence. Such indications, too, of landscape as are to be found are of the classical type, not conventional in the sense of medieval conventionalism, but still attempting to follow nature, even if in an imperfect fashion; just as in the Pompeian and other frescoes of the Roman age.
Of even greater value from an artistic point of view are the miniatures of the Vatican MS. of Virgil, known as the “Schedae Vaticanae,” of the 4th century. They are in a more perfect condition and on a larger scale than the Ambrosian fragments, and they therefore offer better opportunity for examining method and technique. The drawing is quite classical in style, and the idea is conveyed that the miniatures are direct copies from an older series. The colours are opaque: indeed, in- all the miniatures of early MSS. the employment of body colour was universal. The method followed in placing the different scenes on the page is highly instructive of the practice followed, as we may presume, by the artists of the early centuries. It seems that the background of the scene was first painted in full, covering the whole surface of the page; then, over this background were painted the larger figures and objects; and over these again the smaller details in front of them were superimposed. Again, for the purpose of securing something like perspective, an arrangement of horizontal zones was adopted, the upper ones containing figures on a smaller scale than those below.
It was reserved for the Byzantine school to break away more decidedly from the natural presentment of things and to develop convention. Yet in the best early examples of this school the classical sentiment still lingers, as the relics of the miniatures of the Cottonian Genesis, in the British Museum, and the best of the miniatures of the Vienna Dioscorides testify; and in the miniatures of the later Byzantine MSS., which were copied from earlier examples, the reproduction of the models is faithful. But on comparing the miniatures of the Byzantine school generally with their classical predecessors, one has a sense of having passed from the open air into the cloister. Under the restraint of ecclesiastical domination Byzantine art became more and more stereotyped and conventional. The tendency grows to paint the flesh-tints in swarthy hues, to elongate and emaciate the limbs, and to stiHen the gait. Browns, blue-greys and neutral tints are in favour. Here we first find the technical treatment of flesh-painting which afterwards became the special practice of Italian miniaturists, namely the laying on of the actual flesh-tints over a ground of olive, green or other dark hue. Landscape, such as it was, soon became quite conventional, setting the example for that remarkable absence of the true representation of nature which is such a striking attribute of the miniatures of the middle ages.
And yet, while the ascetic treatment of the miniatures obtained so strongly in Byzantine art, at the same time the Oriental sense of splendour shows itself in the brilliancy of much of the colouring and in the lavish employment of gold. In the miniatures of Byzantine MSS. are first seen those backgrounds of bright gold which afterwards appear in such profusion in the productions of every western school of painting. The influence of Byzantine art on that of medieval Italy is obvious. The early mosaics in the churches of Italy, such as those at Ravenna and Venice, also afford examples of the dominating Byzantine influence. But the early middle ages provide but few landmarks to guide the student; and it is only when he emerges into the 12th century, with its frescoes and miniatures still bearing the impress of the Byzantine tradition, that he can be satisfied that the connexion has always existed during the intervening centuries.
When we turn to the farther-west of Europe, there also we find under the Carolingian monarchs a school of painting obviously derived from classical models, chiefly of the Byzantine type, but whether derived directly from the East, or, what is more probable, transmitted through Italian channels, must remain doubtful. The interest of that school for our present purpose is that it was the parent of the later miniature-painting in the countries of the West. For in the native schools of those countries decoration only was the leading motive. In the MSS. of the Merovingian period, in the school which connected Frankland and northern Italy, and which is known as Lombardic or Franco-Lombardic, in the MSS. of Spain, in the productions of the Celtic school of our own islands, figure-drawing was scarcely known, and where it was practised it was of a barbarous character, serving rather as a feature of decoration than as a representation of the human form. Hence in those native schools the miniature, in its true sense of apicture, may be regarded as non-existent.
From these native schools we exclude the Anglo-Saxon school, developed especially at Canterbury and Winchester, which probably derived its characteristic free-hand drawing from classical Roman models, scarcely influenced by the Byzantine element. The highest qualities of the miniatures of the 10th and nth centuries of this school lie in fine outline drawing, which had a lasting influence on the English miniature of the later centuries. But the southern Anglo-Saxon school rather stands apart from the general line of development of the western medieval miniature. How far it was affected by Continental influence will be presently noticed.
Turning to the productions of the Carolingian school, which owed its origin to the encouragement of Charlemagne, it is seen that the miniature appears in two forms. First, there is the truly conventional miniature following the Byzantine model, the subjects being generally the portraits of the Evangelists, or portraits of the emperors themselves: the figures stiff and formal; the pages brilliantly and often coarsely coloured and gilded, generally set in architectural surroundings of a fixed type, and devoid of landscape in the real sense of the word. On the other hand, there is also the miniature in which there is an attempt at illustration, as, for example, the depicting of scenes from Bible history. Here there is more freedom; and we trace the debased classical style which copies Roman, as distinguished from Byzantine, models. The figure-drawing is sufficiently clumsy, but the type is Roman, or debased Roman, and the costumes are clearly derived from the same source. Here, too, there is a better attempt at landscape, which is not of the absolutely conventional deadness of the Carolingian-Byzantine type. But this second style of illustrative miniature appears only occasionally. The other was the characteristic miniature of the Carolingian school, and, accompanied as it was with profuse decoration in border and initial, it set the pattern for the later Continental schools of the West.
The influence which the Carolingian school exercised on the miniatures of the southern Anglo-Saxon artists shows itself in the extended use of body-colour and in the more elaborate employment of gold in the decoration. Such a MS. as the Benedictional of Aethelwold, bishop of Winchester, 963 to 984, with its series of miniatures drawn in the native style but painted in opaque pigments, exhibits the influence of the foreign art. But the actual drawing remained essentially national, marked by its own treatment of the human figure and by the peculiar disposition of the drapery with fluttering folds. Its fault was over-refinement, tending to an affected exaggeration and disproportion of the limbs. With the Norman Conquest this remarkable native school passed away.
The period immediately succeeding the Carolingian school in western Europe was one of extreme decadence in the miniatures of MSS. In the 10th and 11th centuries they were mere lifeless copies of earlier types. But with the awakening of art in the 12th century the decoration of MSS. received a powerful impulse. Although the artist of the time excels in the border and the initial, still in the miniature also there is vigorous drawing, with bold sweeping lines and careful study of the draperies. The artist now grows more practised in figure drawing, and while there is still the tendency to repeat the same subjects in the same conventional manner, individual effort produced in this century many miniatures of a very noble character. The Norman Conquest had brought England directly within the fold of Continental art; and now began that grouping of the French and the English and the Flemish schools, which, fostered by growing intercourse and moved by common impulses, resulted in the magnificent productions of the illuminators of north-western Europe from the latter part of the 12th century onwards. But of natural landscape there is nothing, unless rocks and trees of a stereotyped character can be so regarded. Hence the background of the miniature of the 12th and immediately succeeding centuries became the field for decoration to throw into stronger relief the figures in the scene. And thus arose the practice of filling in the entire space with a sheet of gold, often burnished: a brilliant method of ornament which we have already seen practised in the Byzantine school. We have also to notice the conventional treatment of the sacred figures, which continue henceforward, from a sense of veneration, to be clad in the traditional robes of the early centuries, while the other figures of the scene wear the ordinary dress of the period.
It will be convenient, at this point, to follow the development of the miniature in the northern schools of England and France and the Low Countries, occasionally glancing at Germany, during the next three centuries, and to leave aside for the moment consideration of the Italian school and the schools allied therewith.
Entering the 13th century, we reach the period when the miniature may be said to justify the modern false etymology which has connected the title with minuteness. The broad, bold style of the 12th century gives place to the precise and minute. Books in general exchanged their form from the large folio to the octavo and smaller sizes. There was a greater demand for books; and vellum was limited in quantity and had to go further. The handwriting grew smaller and lost the roundness of the 12th century. Contractions and abbreviations in the texts largely increased in number. Everywhere there is an effort to save space. And so with the miniature. Figures were small, with delicate strokes in the features and with neat slim bodies and limbs. The backgrounds blaze with colour and burnished gold; and delicate diaper patterns of alternate gold and colour abound. Frequently, and especially in English MSS., the drawings are merely tinted or washed with transparent colours. In this century, too, the miniature invades the initial. Whereas in the earlier periods bold flowering scrolls are the fashion, now a little scene is introduced into the blank spaces of the letter. To compare the work of the three schools, the drawing of the English miniature, at its best, is perhaps the most graceful; the French is the neatest and the most accurate; the Flemish, including that of western Germany, -is less refined and in harder and stronger lines. As to colours, the English artist affects rather lighter tints than those of the other. schools: a partiality is to be observed for light green, for grey-blue, and for lake. The, French artist loved deeper shades, especially ultramarine. The Fleming and the German painted, as a rule, in less pure colours and inclined to heaviness. A noticeable feature in French MSS. is the red or copper-hued gold used in their illuminations, in strong contrast to the paler metal of England and the Low Countries.
It is remarkable how the art of the miniature throughout the 13th century maintains its high quality both in drawing and colour without any-very striking change. Throughout the century the Bible and the Psalter were in favour; and naturally the same subjects and the same scenes ran through the period and were repeated by artist after artist; and the very character of those sacred books would tend ito restrain innovation. But towards the close of the period such secular works as the romances were growing in popularity, and afforded a wider held for the invention of the illustrating artist. Therefore with the opening of the 14th century a palpable change of style supervenes. We pass to more flowing lines; not to the bold sweeping strokes and curves of the 12th century, but to a graceful, delicate, yielding style which produced the beautiful swaying figures of the period. In fact the miniature now begins to free itself from the role of an integral member of the decorative scheme of illumination and to develop into the picture, depending on its own artistic merit for the position it is to hold in the future. This is shown by the more prominent place that the miniature now assumes, and by its growing independence of the decorative border and initial. But, at the same time, while the miniature of the 14th century thus strives to dissociate itself from the rest of the illuminated details of the MS., within itself it flourishes in decoration. Besides the greater elasticity of the figure drawing, there is a parallel development in the designs of the backgrounds. The diapers become more elaborate and more brilliant; the beauty of the burnished gold is enhanced by the stippled patterns which are frequently worked upon it; the gothic canopies and other architectural features which it became the practice to introduce naturally followed the development of the architecture of the period. In a word, the great expansion of artistic sentiment in decoration of the best type, which is so prominent in the higher work of the 14th century, is equally conspicuous in the illuminated miniature.
In the early part of the century, English drawing is very graceful, the figures bending with a waving movement which, if they were not so simple, would be an affectation. Both, in the outline specimens, washed with transparent colour, and in the fully painted examples, the best English work of this time is unsurpassed. French art still maintains its neat precision, the colours more vivid than those of England and the faces delicately indicated without much modelling. The productions of the Low Countries, still keeping to the heavier style of drawing, appear coarse beside the works of the other schools. Nor does German miniature art of this period hold a high position, being generally mechanical and of arustic character. As time advances the French miniature almost monopolizes the field, excelling in brilliancy of colouring, but losing much of its purity of drawing although the general standard still remains high. The English school gradually retrogrades and, owing no doubt to political causes and to the wars with France, appears to have produced no work of much value. It is only towards the end of the century that there is a revival.
This revival, which is referred to in the article on Illuminated MSS., has been attributed, with some reason, to a connexion with the flourishing school of Prague—a school which in the scheme of colouring suggests a southern influence—following on the marriage of Richard II. with Anne of Bohemia in 1382. The new style of English miniature painting is distinguished by richness pf colour, and by the careful modelling of the faces, which compares favourably with the slighter treatment by the contemporary French artists. Similar attention to the features also marks the northern Flemish or Dutch school at this period and in the early 15th century; and it may therefore be regarded as an attribute of Germanic art as distinguished from the French style. The promise of the new development in English miniature painting, however, was not to be fulfilled. In the first quarter of the 15th century, examples of great merit were produced, but at a standstill in drawing and fettered by medieval convention. The native art practically came to a close about the middle of the century, just when the better appreciation of nature was breaking down the old conventional representation of landscape in European art, and was transforming the miniature into the modern picture. Whatever miniature painting was to be produced in England after that time was to be the work of foreign artists or of artists imitating a foreign style. The condition of the country during the Wars of the Roses sufficiently accounts for the abandonment of art. Thus the history of the miniature in the 15th century must be sought in the manuscripts of the Continental schools.
First we have to consider northern France and the Low Countries. As it passes out of the 14th and enters the 15th century, the miniature of both schools begins to exhibit greater freedom in composition; and there is a further tendency to aim rather at general effect by the colouring than neatness in drawing. This was encouraged by the wider field opened to the miniaturist. Books of all kinds were illustrated, and sacred books, Bibles and Psalters and liturgical books, were no longer the chief, if not the only, MSS. which were illuminated. And yet there was one class of MSS. which came into the greatest prominence and which was at the same time liturgical. This was the H orae, or Hours of the Virgin, &c., devotional books for individual use, which were multiplied in vast numbers and contained some of the hnest work of the miniaturists. The decoration of these little volumes escaped in great measure from the conventional restraints which their religious character might have imposed. Futhermore, the demand for illuminated MSS. had by this time established a regular trade; and their production was not confined, as formerly, to the cloister with its narrow and limited views.
Early in the. century the old conventional treatment of landscape still held its own; nor did the diapered and gilded background pass out of use. Indeed, in some of the finest French specimens of the time the diapered patterns are more brilliant than ever. But natural scenery in the second quarter of the century asserts itself more decidedly, although with faults in perspective. It was not until another generation had arisen that there was a true appreciation of the horizon and of atmospheric effect.
The miniatures of the French and Flemish schools run fairly parallel for a time, but after the middle of the century national characteristics become more marked and divergent. The French miniature began to deteriorate, though some very fine examples were produced by the more gifted artists of the school. The f:igure-drawing was more careless, and the painting tended to hardness without depth, which the artist endeavoured to relieve by an excess of gilt shading. The close of the century brought with it the end of the French miniature; for the extravagant productions of the 16th century cannot be counted as worthy of consideration.
The French miniature went down before the Flemish school, which in the latter part of the 15th century attained to its highest excellence. The Flemish miniature affected extreme softness and depth of colour; also an ever-increasing carefulness in the treatment of details, of the draperies, of the expression of the features: the Flemish type of the Virgin’s face, for example, with its full, high forehead, can never be mistaken. In the best Flemish miniatures of the period the artist succeeds in presenting a wonderful softness and glow of colour; nor did the high standard cease with the 15th century, for many excellent specimens still remain to attest the favour in which it was held for a few decades longer.
In the foregoing remarks what has been said in regard to the careful treatment of details applies still more to the miniatures executed in grisaille, in which the absence of colour invited an even stronger accentuation of that treatment. This is perhaps most observable in the grisallle miniatures of northern Flanders, which often suggest, particularly in the strong angular lines of the-draperies, a connexion with the art of the wood engraver. The Flemish miniature did not, however, hold the favour of western Europe without a rival. That rival had arisen in the south, and had come to perfection concurrently with the miniature of the Low Countries in the 15th century. This was the Italian miniature; and the history of its development now claims a brief notice. We return to the 13th century, where we suspended examination of the work of the school of the miniature painters of Italy; but we are not in a position, from lack of material, to follow so closely the development of the Italian miniature. Yet there is enough to show that it passed through the same stages as the miniatures of England and France and the Low Countries. Intercommunication between the countries of Europe was too well established for the case to be otherwise. In Italian MSS. of the normal type the influence of Byzantine art is very manifest during the 13th and 14th centuries. The old system of painting the flesh tints upon olive green or some similar pigment, which is left exposed on the lines of the features, thus obtaining a swarthy complexion, continued to be practised in a more or less modified form into the 1 5th century. As a rule, the pigments used are more opaque than 'those employed in the northern schools; and the artist trusted more to colour alone to obtain the desired effect than to the mixture of colour and gold which gave such brilliant results in the diapered patterns of France. The vivid scarlet of the Italian miniaturists is peculiarly their own. The figure drawing does not bear comparison with the contemporary art of English and French MSS., the human form being often stunted and thick-set. In general, the Italian miniature, before its great expansion in the 14th century, is far behind the miniatures of the north. But with the 15th century, under the influence of the Renaissance, it advanced into the front rank and rivalled the best work of the Flemish school. The use of thicker pigments enabled the miniaturist to obtain the hard and polished surface so characteristic of his work, and to maintain sharpness of outline, without losing the depth and richness of colour which compare with the same qualities in the Flemish school.
The Italian style was followed in the MSS. of Provence in the 14th and 15th centuries. It had its effect, too, on the school of northern France, by which it was also influenced in turn. In the MSS. of southern Germany it is also in evidence. But the principles which have been reviewed as guiding the development of the miniature in the more important schools apply equally to all. Like the miniature of the Flemish school, the Italian miniature was still worked to some extent with success, under special patronage, even in the 16th century; but with the rapid displacement of the manuscript by the printed book the miniaturist’s occupation was brought to a close.
2. Miniatures as separate Small Pictures.—In Europe the later development of the miniature, applied almost exclusively to portraits, is to a large extent English, and the greater number of the chief masters in the art have been Englishmen or have lived in England. Several great portrait painters are said to have worked occasionally in miniature, and there are paintings, small in size attributed with good reason to Holbein, Antonio Moro, John Shute, Cleef, Stretes, Teerlinck, Zucchero, John and T. Betts, and with less probability even to Van Dyck. There is a fine signed work by Shute (see Lomazzo’s Trattato dell’ arte della pittura, trans. Heydock, 1598) in the Pierpont Morgan collection; examples by Betts at Montagu House and Madresfield Court, and portraits, by Lavina Teerlinck in the collections of Mr George Salting and Mr J. Pierpont Morgan.
The first portrait miniaturist about whom anything definite is known was Nicholas Hilliard (c. 1547–1619), whose work partakes of the characteristics of illuminated manuscripts. The colours are opaque; gold is used to heighten the effect; while the paintings are on card. They are often signed, and have frequently also a Latin motto upon them. It has recently been proved that Hilliard worked for a while in France, and he is probably identical with the painter alluded to in 1577 as “ Nicholas Belliart.” Nicholas Hilliard was succeeded by his son Lawrence (d. 1640), some works by whom are in the Pierpont Morgan and Madresneld Court collections. His technique was similar to that of his father, but bolder, and his miniatures richer in colour. Isaac and Peter Oliver succeeded Hilliard. Isaac (c. 1567–1617) is said to have been the pupil of Hilliard and Zucchero. Peter (1594–1647) was the pupil of Isaac. The two men were the earliest to give roundness and form to the faces they painted. They signed their best works in monogram, and painted not only very small miniatures, but larger ones measuring as much as ro in. by 9 in. They copied for Charles I. on a small scale many of his famous pictures by the old masters. Several of these copies are at Windsor and at Montagu House. At about the same date Gerbier, Poelemberg, Jamesone, Penelope Cleyn and her brothers, were workers in the art. John Hoskins (d. 1664) was the master of Samuel Cooper, the greatest English miniaturist. The work of Cooper can best be studied in the collection at Ham House. He was followed by a son of the same name, who was known to have been living in 1700, since aminiature signed by him and bearing that date is in the Pierpont
Morgan collection. It represents the duke of Berwick. Samuel Cooper (1609–1672) was a nephew of Hoskins. He spent much of his time in Paris and Holland, and very little is known of his career. His work has a superb breadth and dignity, and has been well called “life-size work in little.” His portraits of the men of the Puritan epoch are remarkable for their truth to life and strength of handling. He painted upon card, chicken skin and vellum, and on two occasions upon thin pieces of mutton bone. The use of ivory was not introduced until long after his time. His work is frequently signed with his initials, generally in gold, and very often with the addition of the date. Flatman (d. 1688); Alexander Cooper (d. 1660), who painted a series of portraits of the children of the king and queen of Bohemia, now belonging to the German emperor, and several of whose best miniatures are in the collections of the queen of Holland and the king of Sweden; David des Granges (1611–1675) whose work can be seen at Ham House and Windsor Castle; R. Gibson (1615–1690); Mrs Rosse, his daughter, who so cleverly imitated the work of Samuel Cooper, and Charles and Mary Beale, deserve notice at this period. They are followed by such artists as Lawrence Crosse (d. 1724), Gervase Spencer (d. 1763), Lens, Nathaniel Hone and Jeremiah Meyer, the latter two notable in connexion with the foundation of the Royal Academy. The workers in black lead (plumbago, as it was called at that time) must not be overlooked, especially David Loggan, Faithorne, White, Forster and Faber. They drew with exquisite detail and great effect on paper or vellum. The 18th century produced a great number of miniature painters, of whom Richard Cosway (1742–1821) is the most famous. His works are of great beauty, and executed with a dash and brilliance which no other artist equalled. His best work was done about 1799. His portraits are generally on ivory, although occasionally he worked on paper or vellum, and he produced a great many full-length pencil drawings on paper, in which he slightly tinted the faces and hands, and these he called “stayned” drawings. Cosway’s finest miniatures are signed on the back; there is but one genuine signed on the face; very few bear even his initials on the front. George Engleheart (1750–1829) painted 4900 miniatures, and his work is stronger and more impressive than that of Cosway; it is often signed “E” or “G.E.” Andrew Plimer (1763–1837) was a pupil of Cosway, and both he and his brother Nathaniel produced some lovely portraits. The brightness of the eyes, wiriness of the hair, exuberance of colour, combined with forced chiaroscuro and often Very inaccurate drawing, are characteristics of Andrew Plimer’s work. John Smart (1741–1811) was in some respects the greatest of the 18th-century miniaturists. His work excelled in refinement, power and delicacy; its silky texture and elaborate finish, and the artist’s love for a brown background, distinguish it. Other notable painters were Ozias Humphry (1742–1810), Nixon (1741–1812), Shelley (c. 1750–1808), whose best pictures are groups of two or more persons, William Wood, a Suffolk artist (1768–1808), Edridge (1769–1821), Sullivan, Sheriff, Crosse, Bogle, Daye. In the 19th century J. C. D. Engleheart (1784–1862), nephew of George: Andrew Robertson (1777–1845), Beaumont, Behnes, Harlow, Heaphy and Mrs Mee must be mentioned. Sir Thomas Lawrence painted a few miniatures, and Raeburn some in his early days; but the art may be said to have died out with Sir William Ross, the Chalons and Newton, although some works by Landseer in this form are in existence, some small paintings of flowers by George Lance, »and one portrait by Rossetti. Towards the end of the 19th century came a revival of miniature painting, but without producing any masters of the same calibre. Alyn Williams and Lloyd amongst Englishmen, J. W. von Rehling-Quistgaard, the talented Danish miniature painter, and Bess Norris, an Australian artist, deserve mention.
From about 1650 onwards many fine miniatures were executed in enamel. Petitot (1607–1691) was the greatest worker in this material, and painted his finest portraits in Paris for Louis XIV. His son succeeded him in the same profession. Other artists in enamel were Boit (d. 1727), Zincke (d. 1767), Hurter (1734–1790), Thouron (1737–1789), Liot, Prieur, Spicer, Dinglinger, Vouquer, Bain and Thienpondt. Many of these artists were either Frenchmen or Swiss, but most of them visited England and worked there for a while. The greatest English enamel portrait painter was Henry Bone (1755–1839), the finest of whose productions are now at Kingston Lacy. A great collection of his small enamel reproductions of celebrated paintings is in Buckingham Palace.
The earliest French miniature painters were Jean Clouet (d. c. 1540), his son Francois, Jean Fouquet, Jean Perreal and others; but of their work in portraiture we have little trace at the present day, although there are many portraits and a vast number of drawings attributed to them with more or less reason. The seven portraits in the manuscript of the Gallic War (Bibliothèque Nationale) are assigned to the elder Clouet; and to them may be added a fine work, in the Pierpont Morgan collection, representing the Maréschal de Brissac. Following these men we find the two Strèsors, St André, Cotelle and Massé; the fine draughtsmen Picart, Vauthier and Chéron; and then, later on, We know of miniatures by, Largillière, Boucher, Nattier, Montpetit, Desfosses, Drouais, Charlier, Thouron, Perrin and Dubourg; but the greatest names are those of Hall the Swede, Dumont the Frenchman, and Füger the Austrian. The tiny pictures painted by the von Blarenberghe family are by many persons grouped as miniatures, and some of the later French artists, as Prud’hon, Constance Meyer and Dubois, executed miniature portraits, while others whose names might be mentioned were Werner (1637–1710), Rosalba (1675–1757), Chatillon, Pasquier, Marsigli, Garriot, Sicardi and Festa. The most popular artists in France, however, were Augustin (d. 1832) and Isabey (d. 1855). Their portraits of Napoleon and his court are exceedingly fine, and perhaps no other Frenchman painted miniatures so well as did Augustin. The Spanish painter Goya is known to have executed a few miniatures.
Miniatures are painted in oil, water-colour and enamel, but chiefly in water-colour. Many Dutch and German miniatures were painted in oil, and as a rule these are on copper; and there are portraits in the same medium, and often on the same material, attributed to many of the great Italian artists, notably those of the Bologna school. Samuel Cooper is said to have executed a few paintings in oil on copper, but we know little about the artists who prepared the numerous oil portraits in foreign collections.
The work of the 18th century on ivory is, of course, in water-colour. The use of ivory came into general adoption in the early part of the reign of William III., miniatures previous to that time having been painted on vellum, chicken-skin or cardboard, a few on the backs of playing cards, and many more on very thin vellum closely mounted on to playing cards.
The most important collections of miniatures in England in 1907 were those in the possession of the king, the duke of Buccleuch, Mr J. Pierpont Morgan, the duke of Rutland, the earls of Exeter, Ilchester, Dysart, Dartrey (notable for enamel work, some examples of which are of the greatest rarity) and Ancaster (especially notable for works by Cosway), of Earl Beauchamp, the late Baroness Burdett-Coutts, Sir Gardner Engleheart (remarkable for containing almost exclusively works by the Engleheart family), Lord V)/eardale, and Messrs Drake, Digby, Williams, Whitehead, and Usher of Lincoln. There is a remarkable collection, principally of works in enamel, in the University Gallery, Oxford, a few fine miniatures at South Kensington, and in the same museum in the Jones collection some splendid works by Petitot, and there are also some famous foreign portrait and picture miniatures in the Wallace Collection, Hertford House, London. The collection at the Louvre is of importance, especially as regards the works of Petitot; that belonging to the queen of Holland of very high merit, and includes some choice works by Holbein and Alexander Cooper; and there is also a very fine collection at Amsterdam, including some of the largest works by Samuel Cooper and the largest known by Hoskins; some very iine ones belong to the Crown of Sweden, and there is a superb but very mixed collection in Peter the Great’s Gallery in St Petersburg, unfortunately in great confusion and needing rearrangement. Many line miniatures, including some very scarce enamel work by Prieur, are at the Rosenberg Palace in Copenhagen; the German emperor and the Crown of Prussia both own some remarkable examples, and there are important collections at Vienna, Florence and Stockholm, and in private hands in Berlin, Moscow and Helsingfors.
For fuller information see also J. L. Propert, History of Miniature Art (London, 1887); G. C. Williamson, History of Portrait Miniatures (2 vols., folio, 1904), Portrait Miniatures (London, 1897); Richard Cosway (London, 1897); George Engleheart (London, 1902);' Andrew Plimer, &c. (London, 1902); How to Identify Miniatures (London, 1904); Richard Cosway (London, 1905), and the privately printed catalogue of the Pierpont Morgan Collection (1906, 1907, 1908); Les Emaux de Petitot du Louvre (Paris, 1862–1864); catalogues of the Buccleuch Gallery, Welbeck Gallery, Ward Usher Collection, Bemrose Collection, Woburn Abbey Collection, all privately printed, the catalogue of the collection exhibited at South Kensington, and the privately issued catalogue at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, with illustrations. (G. C. W.)