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Portrait miniature - Portrait miniature of an unknown woman
  • Portrait miniature of an unknown woman
    Robertson, Andrew, born 1777 - died 1845
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Portrait miniature of an unknown woman

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1825 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Robertson, Andrew, born 1777 - died 1845 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on ivory

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 13

‘Oval miniatures [are] at best but toys. I should like to aspire to paint pictures.’ So declared the ambitious young painter Andrew Robertson, whose arrival in London in 1801 from his native Aberdeen, Scotland, ushered in a radically different approach to miniature painting. Robertson was undoubtedly spurred by the rising criticism of many oil painters, who saw the proliferating ranks of miniaturists as mercenary producers of quickly painted trivial trinkets rather than real artists. He answered these criticisms and declared his ambitions with a large copy - eight inches by seven inches - of a portrait by Anthony van Dyck. It was mistaken by many for an oil painting, so strong and tight was its colouring and finish. Robertson's own style and necessary techniques in portrait painting involved so much labour and so many sittings that the expense and time deterred potential clients. He therefore pragmatically developed two styles, one for ‘connoissers’ and one for the general market, such as this conventional oval miniature. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy and Old Watercolour Society from 1802 to 1842, and by taking on Frederick Cruickshank as his pupil and William Charles Ross as his assistant, thereby directly influenced the leading miniaturists of the next generation.

Physical description

Portrait miniature on ivory

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)


ca. 1825 (painted)


Robertson, Andrew, born 1777 - died 1845 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on ivory


Height: 81 mm, Width: 67 mm

Descriptive line

Potrait miniature of an unknown woman, about 1825, painted on ivory by Andrew Robertson (1777-1845).

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

Summary Catalogue of Miniatures in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Emmett Microform, 1981





Subjects depicted

Brooch; Cape


Portraits; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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