Miniature thumbnail 1
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

1789 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This enamel by Jean-François Favre was probably painted in Paris or Geneva. It depicts French politician Jean-Joseph Mounier, who was involved in the struggle between Parliament and Court on the eve of the French Revolution and was secretary of the assembly that drafted the grievances presented to Louis XVI. Elected president of the Constituent Assembly in 1789, he disapproved of later proceedings and resigned his post the following year.

The practice of painting portrait miniatures in enamels developed out of the decorative work of goldsmiths and watchmakers in the French cities of Blois, Châteaudun and Paris. Portrait plaques had been made in the enamelling workshops of Limoges in central France during the 16th century, but in the 1630s, Jean Toutin adapted existing techniques to make the subtle colouring and delicate detail of enamel miniatures possible. Small objects like watches or snuffboxes were ideally suited to this technique and many were decorated with portraits and mythological or allegorical scenes. Artists throughout Europe continually refined their approaches to painting enamel portraits. While 17th century enamellers used a very fine stipple to create light and shade in their miniatures, artists in the 18th century began to use larger brushstrokes for a more fluid effect.

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
Materials and Techniques
Enamel on copper, gilt metal
Brief Description
Enamel miniature on copper of Jean-Joseph Mounier, in a gilt metal frame, Paris or Geneva, 1789, by Jean Francois Favre.
Physical Description
Oval portrait miniature of Jean-Joseph Mounier shown bust-length, facing left, wearing a powdered wig, a dark grey coat, a yellow embroidered waistcoat and a knotted cravat. The frame is of gilt-metal with a ribbon twist border.
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.48cm
  • Width: 5.21cm
  • Depth: 0.6cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Signed and dated 'Favre / pinxit / 1789'
Gallery Label
Jean-Joseph Mounier 1789 A French politician, Jean-Joseph Mounier (1758–1806) was the secretary of the assembly that drafted the grievances presented to Louis XVI on the eve of the French Revolution. Paris, France or Geneva, Switzerland; Jean-François Favre (1751–1807) Enamel on copper in gilded copper-alloy frame Signed and dated ‘Favre pinxit, 1789’ Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.254-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Mr Ben-Simon, Paris, 1923. D.S. Lavender, London, 01/10/1982.
Subject depicted
Summary
This enamel by Jean-François Favre was probably painted in Paris or Geneva. It depicts French politician Jean-Joseph Mounier, who was involved in the struggle between Parliament and Court on the eve of the French Revolution and was secretary of the assembly that drafted the grievances presented to Louis XVI. Elected president of the Constituent Assembly in 1789, he disapproved of later proceedings and resigned his post the following year.



The practice of painting portrait miniatures in enamels developed out of the decorative work of goldsmiths and watchmakers in the French cities of Blois, Châteaudun and Paris. Portrait plaques had been made in the enamelling workshops of Limoges in central France during the 16th century, but in the 1630s, Jean Toutin adapted existing techniques to make the subtle colouring and delicate detail of enamel miniatures possible. Small objects like watches or snuffboxes were ideally suited to this technique and many were decorated with portraits and mythological or allegorical scenes. Artists throughout Europe continually refined their approaches to painting enamel portraits. While 17th century enamellers used a very fine stipple to create light and shade in their miniatures, artists in the 18th century began to use larger brushstrokes for a more fluid effect.



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
  • Clouzot, Henri. 'Les maîtres de la miniature sur émail au musée Galliéra', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, VIII, 5e période, July-August 1923, p. 58.
  • Clouzot, Henri. Dictionnaire des miniaturistes sur émail, Paris, 1924, p. 230.
  • Clouzot, Henri. La miniature sur émail en France, Paris, n.d.. [c. 1925] p. 140.
  • Hofstetter, Bodo, 'La Miniature sur émail suisse à la fin du XVIIIe siècle'. In Genoud, Jean-Claude (ed.), 100 ans de miniatures suisses 1780-1880. Musée historique de Lausanne; Geneva: Slatkine, 1999, p. 66, p. 67, fig. 83.
  • 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. 21, pp. 69-70. ISBN 0856675334.
Other Numbers
  • 1996.807.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 41 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.791.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 26 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.254-2008

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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