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Miniature but Magnificent

Paintings of landscapes and portraits have been frequently seen on antique jewellery as photography was not yet invented, offering us an insight into past-lives. Not only did many artists paint on large scale canvas, they also painted beautiful miniature portraits, much like the one below. We can only imagine the amount of time and effort that went into these paintings, they are so realistic!

Listed Pearl Portrait Brooch

These miniature portraits acted as mementos of loved ones as well as a form of identification, peaking in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Often these portraits would be carried in pockets or decorated on jewellery, watches and brooches. I guess like carrying a miniature passport photo of yourself or a loved one in your wallet or in a locket, in modern day. These intricate paintings were commonly created using watercolour, enamel and gouache (water-based paint).

Image from Etsy Shop

Antique jewellery and brooches with these exceptional miniature portraits are a true representation of how insightful and precious antiques can be. If your mind is anything like mine, the mystery of these portraits, wondering who these people are and what their life might have been like and even who painted them, is a fascination I am in absolute awe with each time I come across one of these mini but magnificent pieces.


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