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Portrait miniature of Mrs Bacon

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1841 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ross, William Charles Sir (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs B. Calmar

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 14

Miniatures by William Charles Ross often measured over a foot and a half, so at eight inches this is quite a modest miniature. Ross had started his career as an assistant to Andrew Robertson. In the early 19th century Robertson had begun to revolutionise the appearance of portrait miniatures. He increased the size of the ivory support to allow for a more complicated composition, used a rectangular shape rather than an oval, and worked densely with a heavily gummed pigment to produce an effect that imitated the rich colour of oil painting, and indeed was sometimes mistaken for oil rather than watercolour. Robertson’s success meant he could afford to employ an assistant to paint in the labour-intensive backgrounds and drapery. Ross himself went on to become the leading miniaturist of his generation. He was miniature painter to Queen Victoria, who knighted him in 1842, and he employed his own sister, Mrs Dalton to paint the tedious areas of backgrounds and drapery in his large miniatures. This miniature is still in its original frame which has a stand at the back allowing it to be displayed on a flat surface, much as photographs are displayed today.

Physical description

Portrait of a woman seated in a green-upholstered Louis XV arm-chair. She wears a decollete white short-sleeved dress, with a heavy gold bracelet with a cameo on her left arm. She is holding a black-and-tan spaniel.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)


1841 (painted)


Ross, William Charles Sir (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on ivory


Height: 214 mm, Width: 176 mm

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of Mrs Bacon, dated 1841, painted on ivory by Sir William Charles Ross, R.A. (1794-1860).


Watercolour; Ivory



Subjects depicted

Portrait; Chair; Drapery; Dog; Cameos


Images Online; Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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