Miniature thumbnail 1
Miniature thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 71, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries

Miniature

1781 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Images of royalty were used as gifts to show favour or diplomatic good will. They were also acquired by those who admired, but had no personal connection to, the sitter. Here represented is Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and a patron of the arts. The source for this enamel was a well-known oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88).

In the 17th century, new techniques of painting enamels allowed delicate portraits resembling tiny oil paintings to be created. These enamel miniatures were first fashionable in continental Europe, but were particularly in vogue in Britain from the 1720s to 1760s. Enamel portraits performed a wide variety of functions. They were often given as diplomatic gifts or awarded to recognise official service. Some celebrated historical figures, while others commemorated a marriage, or departed loved one. Sitters often commissioned enamel copies alongside an original portrait in oils, in order to have a more intimate and portable version in a robust material. Enamels could also be set into jewellery or extravagant boxes so that they could be worn or carried. Larger enamels were often displayed in elaborate frames.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Miniature
  • Frame
Materials and Techniques
Enamel on copper, gold frame with natural salt-water pearls and almadine garnets
Brief Description
Enamel miniature on copper of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in a gold frame with garnets and pearls, England, 1781, by Johann Heinrich Hurter.
Physical Description
Oval portrait miniature depicting Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz wearing a white dress and hat with a high white wig. The miniature is enamel on copper and the frame is a gold rim set with rubies and pearls.The backs of the rubies are gilded copper.
Dimensions
  • Height: 7.22cm
  • Width: 6.2cm
  • Depth: 0.63cm
Updated with measurements taken 29/07/08
Gallery Label
  • 6–11. Famous faces Images of royalty (9, 10) were used as gifts to show favour or diplomatic good will. They were also acquired by those who admired, but had no personal connection, to the sitter. Miniatures of other famous faces were often painted years after their deaths. Their likenesses were copied from famous portraits (6, 7, 8 and 11). 9. Queen Charlotte 1781 England; Johann Heinrich Hurter (about 1734–91), after Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88) Enamel on copper in gold and gilded copper frame, with foil-backed rubies and pearls Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.242:1, 2-2008(16/11/2016)
  • Queen Charlotte 1781 Images of royalty were used as gifts to show favour or diplomatic good will. They were also acquired by those who admired, but had no personal connection to, the sitter. The sources for these two enamels (9–10) were well-known oil paintings by Gainsborough and Lawrence. England; Johann Heinrich Hurter (1734–about 1791), after Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88) Enamel on copper in gold and gilded copper frame, with foil-backed rubies and pearls Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.242:1, 2-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance

Acquired by Arthur Gilbert from S.J. Phillips Ltd, London, 1982
Production
after Thomas Gainsborough
Subject depicted
Summary
Images of royalty were used as gifts to show favour or diplomatic good will. They were also acquired by those who admired, but had no personal connection to, the sitter. Here represented is Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and a patron of the arts. The source for this enamel was a well-known oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88).



In the 17th century, new techniques of painting enamels allowed delicate portraits resembling tiny oil paintings to be created. These enamel miniatures were first fashionable in continental Europe, but were particularly in vogue in Britain from the 1720s to 1760s. Enamel portraits performed a wide variety of functions. They were often given as diplomatic gifts or awarded to recognise official service. Some celebrated historical figures, while others commemorated a marriage, or departed loved one. Sitters often commissioned enamel copies alongside an original portrait in oils, in order to have a more intimate and portable version in a robust material. Enamels could also be set into jewellery or extravagant boxes so that they could be worn or carried. Larger enamels were often displayed in elaborate frames.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Bibliographic References
  • Coffin, Sarah and Bodo Hofstetter. Portrait Miniatures in Enamel. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with the Gilbert Collection, 2000. 168 p., ill. Cat. no. 30, p. 78. ISBN 0856675334.
  • Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, ill. p. 82. ISBN9781851775934
Other Numbers
  • MIN 34 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • MM 297 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.242:1, 2-2008

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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