An Unknown woman thumbnail 1
An Unknown woman thumbnail 2
+3
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case RMC, Shelf 7, Box C

This object consists of 4 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

An Unknown woman

Portrait Miniature
second half 17th century (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an example of an unusual amusement that came into fashion after about 1650. It consists of an oil miniature painted on copper and set in a leather case. Accompanying the miniature are a number of costume details painted in opaque colour on slivers of transparent mineral known at the time as 'talc'. In fact, the little costume sheets are pieces of mica. This is a mineral that splits easily into thin yet very tough and flexible flakes, as transparent as glass. These 'talcs' matched the oil miniature in shape and size, so that the owner could dress up the subject in different costumes by laying on the 'talcs' one at a time. We do not know where these miniatures were manufactured, but they are found throughout Europe. They could be accompanied by as many as 20 different talcs.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Miniature
  • Overlay for a Miniature
  • Overlays for a Miniature
  • Overlay for a Miniature
Materials and Techniques
Portrait miniature, oil on copper, with talc overlays
Brief Description
Anonymous 'talc' portrait miniature of an unknown woman, oil on copper with a painted mica costume overlay. Dutch School, 17th century.
Physical Description
"Talc" miniature. Image of a woman, wearing a pink dress with a jewel set on the lace trim of the bodice, set against a solid dark background. Oil on copper, with talc costume overlays. This miniature has 20 talc overlays in total.
Credit line
Given by E. V. Lucas
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is an example of an unusual amusement that came into fashion after about 1650. It consists of an oil miniature painted on copper and set in a leather case. Accompanying the miniature are a number of costume details painted in opaque colour on slivers of transparent mineral known at the time as 'talc'. In fact, the little costume sheets are pieces of mica. This is a mineral that splits easily into thin yet very tough and flexible flakes, as transparent as glass. These 'talcs' matched the oil miniature in shape and size, so that the owner could dress up the subject in different costumes by laying on the 'talcs' one at a time. We do not know where these miniatures were manufactured, but they are found throughout Europe. They could be accompanied by as many as 20 different talcs.
Collection
Accession Number
P.43 to S-1921

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record createdJuly 11, 2003
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