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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March 2005, 08:30 GMT
In pictures: Portrait miniatures

Portrait of Mrs Jane Small, Hans Holbein, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Hans Holbein's portrait of Jane Small from 1540 is just one of 140 paintings in a new Portrait Miniatures Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, Nicholas Hilliard, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Nicholas Hilliard painted courtiers and other wealthy patrons and his miniatures often included elaborate mottoes. His portrait of Queen Elizabeth I was painted between 1556 and 1557.

Young Man Clasping a Hand from a Cloud, Nicholas Hilliard, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

The portrait miniature first appeared in Britain in the 1520s and the term was used to describe a painting in watercolour on a fine animal skin called vellum. Hilliard's Young Man Clasping a Hand from a Cloud was painted in 1588.

Portrait of James I, Nicholas Hilliard, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

The technique was originally used to illustrate hand-written books and became a British speciality. Hilliard produced many miniatures of James I and his family, including this one which was painted around 1604.

Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington, Richard Cosway, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Richard Cosway's portrait of Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington was painted on ivory. As ivory replaced vellum, miniatures started to become even smaller.

Mrs van Vrybergen, Susannah-Penelope Rosse, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Susannah-Penelope Rosse created many miniatures of her family and friends. Portrait of Mrs van Vrybergen was painted around 1690-5.

Mrs Pru Phillips, Susannah-Penelope Rosse, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Pru Phillips was a neighbour of the Rosses in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and this portrait of her was created around 1690.

Portrait of an Unknown Boy, Charles Hayter, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Charles Hayter's Portrait of an Unknown Boy was painted around 1800 and depicts the boy holding a miniature of his mother and siblings.

Portrait of an unknown woman and two of her children, Charles Hayter, V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

Hayter's portrait of an Unknown Woman and Two Children was painted in London. The sitter's husband was a purser in the East India Company's service.




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