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An Unknown Woman

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1671 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    D. M. (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with funds from the R. H. Stephenson bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case RMC, shelf 6, box 5

Physical description

Portrait, nearly whole-length, of a woman, seated, facing to front and resting her right arm on a plinth. The sitter is wearing a necklace of pearls and has a small dog on her lap. There is a landscape in the right background. Features firmly hatched in brown and sanguine, with black shading at the nose and in the eyes and with highlighting in white, on a pale creamy carnation ground; hair in pale brown wash, lined with darker colour and with the lights in pale gouache; flowers in washes of blue, red and white; dress in pale brown wash, modelled in dark and pale grey with some white lights; mantle in blue wash modelled in black; chemise in white over brown wash; dog in washes of brown and grey; landscape to the right in washes of brown, blue and grey, the lights in off-white; curtain in red wash, modelled in darker colour and with pink for the lights; table in washes of pale and dark grey; the oval drawn in metallic gold and the corners in solid dark brown wash; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.

Frame: Eighteenth-century ebony-faced mitred frame, rising from straight outer edges into a complex bolection moulding; the flat modern glass is held in a rebate. The ebony is mounted on an oak carcase with lapped joints. The hanger is a Simple brass ring held in a clasp of bent brass nailed to the carcase.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)


1671 (painted)


D. M. (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book

Marks and inscriptions

'DM / 1671'
Signed in gold, centre left


Height: 195 mm, Width: 158 mm

Object history note

Provenance: H E Backer (the dealer), from whom purchased, April1949, with funds from the R H Stephenson Bequest.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of an unknwon woman, watercolour on vellum, painted by the monogrammist D. M., 1671.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Murdoch, John. Seventeenth-century English Miniatures in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1949, London: HMSO, 1961.

Subjects depicted

Landscape; Dog; Pearls; Woman


Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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