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Portrait miniature - An Unknown Woman

An Unknown Woman

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    1668 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cross, Peter (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

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

  • Credit Line:

    Alan Evans Bequest, given by the National Gallery

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case RMC, shelf 1, box H

Physical description

Portrait of a woman, head and shoulders, turned slightly to right and looking to front, and wearing a pearl earring in right ear; a landscape in right background. Features hatched and stippled in brown, with grey, blue and red modelling; hair similarly worked in pale brown, lined with gummy darker colour and with pale gouache lights; on a smooth, peach-coloured carnation ground; dress in very pale brown and grey washes with thick white, modelled and shadowed with darker colour; landscape and sky washed and stippled in greens, blues and yellow; background to the left a solid grey wash; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.

Frame: Seventeenth-century oval gold locket, the convex back enamelled all over in opaque pale blue, and the sides with an openwork border of enamelled acanthus sprays repeated twelve times (one section missing); the sides have a right -angled rebate to take an enamelled front cover (now missing) and turn into a bezel, which holds the shallowly convex glass by its bevelled edge; the hanger of D-section, enamelled on the outside in pale blue; at the bottom, a small loop for suspending a pearl.

Place of Origin

England (painted)


1668 (painted)


Cross, Peter (artist)

Materials and Techniques

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

Marks and inscriptions

Signed in black with the brush point, lower centre left

'PC. Fecit. / Anno. Domini. 1668'
Signed on the back and underlined with a flourish


Height: 44 mm, Width: 35 mm

Object history note

Provenance: Acquired by the Hon. F H A Wallop from an unrecorded source and lent to the Museum, 1927-49; the ownership transferred to Alan Evans in 1933, and by him bequeathed to the National Gallery, 1974; placed on indeterminate loan at the V&A.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of an unknown woman, watercolour on vellum, painted by Peter Cross, 1668.

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.


Watercolour; Vellum



Subjects depicted

Earring; Landscape; Woman; Pearls


Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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