Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out and About Looking for Miniatures

On a recent visit to Bedfordshire we found ourselves looking for miniatures. Preferably a masterpiece! We happened upon two, neither of which was a portrait miniature.

The first, Woburn Abbey, was closed for the winter months.

After paying to get into the grounds and Antique Centre, (said to be the best outside of London)
we came across the second masterpiece.

The magnificent  Cedar of  Lebanon just before the entrance to Woburn Antique Centre. 
The tree was reputedly planted between 1743 and 1800,
the heyday of the portrait miniature and during the lifetime of such great artists as Richard Cosway and John Smart. 

Sadly, the Centre was not a source of rich pickings for miniature lovers. An example above of the classic fake miniature complete with piano key frame and 'signature' , politely referred to as a 'decorative miniature.'

Elsewhere, another example of the 'decorative miniature' with pretty bow top frame

 and cheeky signature 'Rienolds!'

On the back, the sitters name, written in 'olde worlde' writing to add to 'authenticity!'

A crudely over painted print in battered frame.

And finally, not a fake but a pretty over painted photograph, (a 'photominiature')
signed and encased in a gold frame.
These were very popular during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century before mass availability of colour photography

Signature of photographer and artist. Some were more skilled than others.

A close up showing the photo underneath.

Happy hunting for that masterpiece!!

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