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Anne Mee

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1795 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mee, Anne (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Water-colour on ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Arthur R. Fuller

  • Museum number:

    P.12-1962

  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 13

In the 18th century, miniature painting was a popular genteel pastime, particularly for ladies. Miniature painting could therefore offer those gentlewomen who found themselves with neither father nor husband to support them the chance to earn a living from their former pastime. This is a self-portrait by Anna Foldsone, who lost her father when young and took to miniature painting to support her mother and her many siblings. When she married, becoming generally known as ‘Mrs Mee’, she continued to paint. But the diarist Joseph Farington noted that Mrs Mee's husband ‘had consented to let her paint ladies only who were never to be attended [at the sittings] by gentlemen’. The reason for this was that painting a portrait was an intimate process, with the artist looking intently at a sitter at close quarters. This is precisely the intimacy that made it so attractive as a domestic art for ladies painting their close relations and friends. But in a professional studio, such a closeness could lead to gossip concerning impropriety. Hence, many women miniaturists chose (or were persuaded) not to work professionally after marriage. In contrast, Mrs Mee continued as a highly successful artist, most famously working at Windsor Castle on a series of paintings of ‘beauties’ - portraits of the most glamorous women attached to the Court.

Physical description

Oval head and shoulders miniature portrait, turned slightly to right and looking to front. The sitter is wearing a cream dress, her hair about her shoulders and fabric around her head.

Place of Origin

Britain (painted)

Date

ca. 1795 (painted)

Artist/maker

Mee, Anne (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Water-colour on ivory

Dimensions

Height: 7.6 cm, Width: 5.7 cm

Descriptive line

Miniature self portrait by Mrs. Anne Mee on ivory. Great Britain, ca.1795.

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

Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1962. London: HMSO, 1964.

Materials

Water-colour; Ivory

Categories

Portraits; Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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