Portrait Miniatures

  • Tudor England
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Portrait Miniatures were a form of Tudor Era painting, by which the image of the Person was painted small and placed within a small clear brooch (work normally around the neck). The style was extremely popular among Royalty and Nobility alike. The style was used to not only remember those still alive, but immortalize those who had died. The Art Form – while emulated by many in France, Germany, England and Italy, was regulated to only a few recognized Masters of The Art.


The popular Art (which was a precursor to Photography in kind), would continue well into the 19th Century AD. Many of these miniature portraits were done in such fine scale, that their creation required many hours of attention to detail. Some forms of smaller portraits from The Tudor Era were not designed to be worn, only much smaller portraits. These were also seen as traveling keepsakes and still fall under the classification of Portrait Miniatures.


Watercolors were applied to Velium (or Lamb skin) to form the foundation and serve as the Medium of creation, due to the inability to use cloth canvas on such a small scale. Great skill (and often time) was needed to produce such work (but still much much faster than traditional portrait painting). Brooches were often expensive clear glass frames, oval in design – and often embellished with Gold, silver and precious jewels. Whereas these portraits were seen as heirlooms, they were often passed down thru Generations. Many examples have survived into Museum and Private Collections.