Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May 2007 - British and European miniatures

Miniatures added in May include two British, one Italian, one Swiss and four French portraits.

Although, it may seem to a casual visitor that the collection is growing rapidly, in fact the overall size is constant. A comparison can be made with an airport, where the number of arriving passengers tends to match the number of departing passengers, over an extended period of time.

The rationale for changes in the collection being to replace departures, with arrivals depicting better artists and/or sitters. Hopefully over time, to make the collection more interesting to visitors and more useful for researchers.

Expertly painted and very appealing this month is the addition of a quite large (130 mm x 80 mm) Italian miniature portrait of a mother and two children painted by Alessandro Curion in 1912.

Unfortunately, the image reproduced here does not do the portrait justice (left click on it to see it better). Curion does not appear in the literature, but was obviously talented. For more about the portrait see Curion, Alessandro - portrait of a mother and chil...

One of the two British miniatures is signed with a monogram that has not yet been identified. It is of an unknown naval officer, which is a relatively uncommon subject. Army officers are much more common subjects in both the 19C and 20C. The monogram is shown in greater detail at Artist TM or MT - portrait of a naval officer

Facing right in profile, is the second British miniature. It has the name T Carlyle 1816 on the reverse. There was an artist of this name, but it is not known if he is the same person as the famous Scottish author and journalist, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). For more about it see Carlyle, T- portrait of man, possibly Thomas Carly...

The Swiss miniature was originally thought to be by the artist Pierre Louis Bouvier (1766-1836), however, it is now thought to be by another Bouvier who continued working after the date of Pierre Louis Bouvier's death . The sitter is unknown and the miniature is set into the top of a walnut snuff box. Many miniatures were inset into snuff boxes, but few of the boxes remain in complete condition. The bottom of this box being missing. See also Bouvier - portrait of a man

As one could imagine, broken boxes would have been quickly discarded, but the miniature portraits themselves were too personal to be disposed of in the same way.

However, there are several complete snuff boxes with miniature portraits on them, elsewhere in the collection.

The French miniatures are all signed and dated, therefore useful for reference purposes.

There is a husband and wife painted by Michel Hertrich in 1840. He exhibited at the Paris Salon, see Hertrich, Michel - portrait of husband and wife

The other two French miniatures are by two artists who appear to be previously unrecorded.

J B Chatillon of a man dated 1822, see Chatillon, J B - portrait of a man and H Brunet of a soldier dated 1836, see Brunet, H - portrait of a soldier

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