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Portrait miniature - Unknown man

Unknown man

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1663-1670 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Loggan, David, born 1634 - died 1692 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plumbago (graphite) on vellum

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

In the last decades of the 17th century, a new form of small portraiture developed to challenge the dominance of the watercolour miniature portrait painted on vellum (fine animal skin). These small portraits became known as ‘plumbagos’ (plumbago is black lead), but the medium was in fact graphite. This delicate black-and-white portrait art originated in the print and book trades of the Netherlands in the late 16th century. Originally intended as preparatory drawings for prints, ‘plumbago’ drawings also demonstrated a printmaker's graphic skill, and they became desirable in their own right. Working on vellum rather than the more perishable paper, print-makers such as David Loggan offered works with the stature of miniature painting, but at a lower cost. Additionally, ‘plumbagos’ were more easily translatable into print form, providing the client with almost exact reproductions.

Physical description

Plumbago portrait miniature on vellum depicting an unknown man with long hair, wearing a lace collar and a thick coat.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)


ca. 1663-1670 (made)


Loggan, David, born 1634 - died 1692 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Plumbago (graphite) on vellum


Height: 128 mm, Width: 105 mm

Descriptive line

Plumbago portrait miniature on vellum depicting an unknown man by David Loggan. Great Britain, ca. 1663-1670.

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

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1927, London: Board of Education, 1928.


Plumbago; Vellum




Portraits; Drawings; Men's clothes; Lace; Hair and hairstyles; Fashion


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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