Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery

Plumbago miniature of Cardinal Mazarin

Miniature
1659 (drawn)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In the second half of the 17th century in England there was a fashion for small black and white portraits drawn on vellum (fine animal skin). This medium is more durable than paper. Although these portraits were called 'plumbagos', meaning black lead, they were usually drawn in graphite and sometimes in ink. This portrait is done in graphite. ‘Plumbagos' developed in the Netherlands in the late 16th century within the print trade. They developed from the printmakers’ original drawings on paper, from which a print would have been engraved. 'Plumbagos' were introduced into England when the monarchy was restored in 1660, by printmakers who returned home from exile abroad. As the taste for 'plumbagos' became established, artists who were not printmakers also began to produce them.

David Loggan was born in the Baltic port of Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland) of Scottish descent. He came to England in 1658, two years before the restoration of the monarchy. He thus became one of the earliest practitioners in England of 'plumbago'. Like most early 'plumbago' artists, he was also a successful engraver.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Graphite on vellum
Brief Description
Plumbago miniature of Cardinal Mazarin, graphite on vellum, drawn by David Loggan (1635-1692). Great Britain, 1659.
Physical Description
Plumbago miniature of Cardinal Mazarin, graphite on vellum
Dimensions
  • Height: 165mm
  • Width: 140mm
Credit line
Bequeathed by Miss Grace Valentine Stephenson as part of the R. H. Stephenson Bequest
Subjects depicted
Summary
In the second half of the 17th century in England there was a fashion for small black and white portraits drawn on vellum (fine animal skin). This medium is more durable than paper. Although these portraits were called 'plumbagos', meaning black lead, they were usually drawn in graphite and sometimes in ink. This portrait is done in graphite. ‘Plumbagos' developed in the Netherlands in the late 16th century within the print trade. They developed from the printmakers’ original drawings on paper, from which a print would have been engraved. 'Plumbagos' were introduced into England when the monarchy was restored in 1660, by printmakers who returned home from exile abroad. As the taste for 'plumbagos' became established, artists who were not printmakers also began to produce them.



David Loggan was born in the Baltic port of Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland) of Scottish descent. He came to England in 1658, two years before the restoration of the monarchy. He thus became one of the earliest practitioners in England of 'plumbago'. Like most early 'plumbago' artists, he was also a successful engraver.
Bibliographic Reference
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1929, London: Board of Education, 1930.
Collection
Accession Number
P.93-1929

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record createdJuly 10, 2003
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