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Miniature
  • Miniature
    Weyler, Jean-Baptiste, born 1749 - died 1791
  • Enlarge image

Miniature

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1785-1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Weyler, Jean-Baptiste, born 1749 - died 1791 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamel on copper, pierced silver frame with rose-cut diamonds

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.248-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 71, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 6, shelf 12

The difficult process of painting in enamels meant that many artists used existing paintings or prints as the basis for their portraits. This provided new versions of family portraits, or the chance to own a portrait of a well-known sitter. Some enamellers however, including Weyler, painted their sitters from life, as he seems to have done in this miniature. He has used great skill to translate his sitter's lively beauty into enamel.

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. Painted enamels were made by firing finely milled glass which had been coloured with metal oxides onto a metal base, usually gold or copper. The colours had to be applied and fired in several stages, according to the firing temperature required by each colour. Incredible precision was needed for a successful enamel portrait, since each firing carried risks of cracks and bubbles that might ruin the entire effort.

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.

Physical description

Oval miniature portrait of a lady shown with a high powdered wig, a blue dress and a white bow. The miniature is enamel on copper and the frame is of silver, pierced and studded with diamonds.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

1785-1790 (made)

Artist/maker

Weyler, Jean-Baptiste, born 1749 - died 1791 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Enamel on copper, pierced silver frame with rose-cut diamonds

Dimensions

Height: 9.57 cm, Width: 6.91 cm, Depth: 0.7 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Au Vieux Paris, Paris, 03/11/1994. D.S. Lavender, 1980.

Descriptive line

Enamel miniature on copper, in a silver frame set with rose cut diamonds, Paris, ca. 1785-90, by Jean-Baptite Weyler.

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

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. 61, p. 112. ISBN 0856675334.
Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 87, plate 67. ISBN9781851775934

Labels and date

12. Young woman in blue dress
1785–90

Some enamellers painted their sitters from
life, as Jean-Baptiste Weyler seems to have done here.

Paris, France; Jean-Baptiste Weyler (1747–91)
Enamel on copper in silver and diamond frame, border possibly later
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.248-2008 [16/11/2016]
Young woman in blue dress
1785–90

Some enamellers painted their sitters from life, as
Weyler seems to have done in this miniature. He has
used great skill to translate the woman’s lively beauty
into enamel.

Paris, France; Jean-Baptiste Weyler (1747–91)
Enamel on copper in silver and diamond frame, border
possibly later
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.248-2008 [2009]

Materials

Enamel; Copper; Silver; Diamond

Techniques

Piercing; Framing; Setting; Enamelling

Subjects depicted

A lady

Categories

Enamels; Metalwork; Portraits

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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