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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Picture Perfect

There is such an allure to the past for me. I’m drawn to items that give a glimpse into the lives of those who lived long ago, and nothing does that better than pictures. Today we’re going back even farther than pictures though, to portrait miniatures. 

 These tiny pictures offer a way to hold the image of a loved one. They were usually executed in watercolor on enamel. Miniatures began to flourish in the 16th century and continued through the 17th and 18th century.

 In the beginning they were used to introduce people to each other over distances. For example, a nobleman proposing the marriage of his daughter might send a courier with her portrait to visit potential suitors.


 In more modern times soldiers and sailors carried miniatures of their loved ones while traveling, or a wife might keep one of her husband while he was away.


 Collecting them is a little like eating chips, you can’t stop at just one! This was my very first one; I just couldn’t resist the rich vibrant colors and that gorgeous hat!


 They stopped painting on stretched vellum by the 18th century and started to use thin sheets of ivory. Even the frames are unique and beautiful.


 Some of these personal mementos were even made into pins or brooches. I can’t help but wonder about the stories behind those smoldering eyes.


Portraits are as varied as the people they portray. Some people collect a specific time period, portraits of men, or children… I love the pretty and elegant ladies of the 18th century. I hope you enjoyed seeing them too.
Hugs,
Patti
And thank you all for participating in our
 "What's It Wednesday"  linky party!
Don't forget to grab a feature button.
Ivy and Elephants 

Here are this week's features:
French Bleu Vintage
Shabby Sweet Cottage
For the Love of White
Cottage and Broome

Blessed Serendipity

Gail's Decorative Touch

72 comments:

Carlene @ Organized Clutter said...

Love the portrait cllection!

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

These are just stunning! I often find myself musing over items from the past and wondering who used them, wore them, etc. The miniature portraits are even better -- they really DO give you a glimpse into the past. Thanks for sharing with us.

Karen said...

Gorgeous collection of portraits. I never knew that paintings were done on ivory. Thanks so much ladies for featuring my vignette. Today has been filled with sad news, this is an unexpected bright spot. Thanks so much!

Blessed Serendipity said...

Thank you so much for featuring my teacup chandelier this week. I am in love with your miniature portraits that you are sharing this week. They are a treasure. Thank you for hosting the party.

blessings,
Danielle

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Your miniature portraits and frames are stunning. I love to collect beautiful and unique frames and you have some fabulous ones. Thanks also for hosting. Hugs, Marty

Doni said...

How beautiful! I love hand-painted china, whether dishes or buttons and brooches...each are so beautiful and different. You have a lovely collection! I prefer the florals, purple violets, and roses..oh yes, roses...
But there's so much personality in those pretty women! Hmm, maybe I should start that collection too!
Lovely post! Thanks so much for sharing!
Doni

Barbara said...

Beautiful portraits...thank you for sharing yet another fabulous collection this week. Hope you ladies have a wonderful week!!!

Julie Marie said...

Oh Patti, you have done it again... what an absolutely stunning collection! And you display everything so exquisitely... I have only one piece similar that belonged to my mama, that is a brooch with a portrait painted on it of one of my relatives from Victorian times... not sure who she was but I love her all the same... please let me know if the lady with the smoldering eyes whispers any stories from her past to you... I would so love to hear them... xoxo Julie Marie

Gail said...

What a beautiful miniature portrait collection you have! I learn something new every week here. Thank you so much for the feature and for hosting, Gail

Cottage and Broome said...

Those miniature portrait are so beautiful. It would be hard for a lady to look unattractive in one of those paintings. Thank you so much for featuring our post about Chocolate Ginger Cookies from last week!!!! We really appreciate it, Laura and Andrea too.

freddyandpetunia said...

I love those little portraits too! But I am only lucky to have found two through the years--that I REAlly liked, and that I could afford!
Catherine

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

It never fails that every time I read your post, I learn so much...You showcase such incredibly beautiful items and the history and stories behind them are just so amazing and interesting to me...

Thank you for hosting..

Trisha said...

I had no idea that these little pictures held so much amazing history. Thank you so much for sharing another wonderful collection!

~Trisha

NanaDiana said...

Patti- I have only ever seen one pr twp of these in real life. I think they are just beautiful. What a wonderful thing to collect! I love them- xo Diana

Cindy F. Adkins said...

Another wonderful collection! I adore these miniature portraits! Thank you so much for sharing. Beautiful features, also.
Hugs, Cindy

Shelia said...

Hi Patti! Oh, again, you've shown some wonderful things. One day you'll have to show us where you keep all of your collections.
Thank you for hosting your fun party.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Sherry said...

Beautiful collection! Thanks for hosting!
Sherry

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Beautiful portraits, and great features. Thanks for hosting.

chateau chic said...

Patti,
Such a beautiful and informative post! Thank you for hosting this party each week. I just realized I had not signed up to be a follower, but I am now.
Mary Alice

Rebecca said...

Hi Patti
What a lovely collection, so beautiful and expensive I might add. They are fabulous
Blessings
Rebecca

FABBY'S LIVING said...

Such stunning things...how I adore vintage, I could live on a historic home with no problem, lol..I often imagine people in the period every time I see gorgeous things like this..painting in ivory, I've leaned something today. Your features are great too. Thank you for hosting lovely ladies and having me. Hugs,
FABBY

Jennelise said...

What a gorgeous post! I love the portrait on the porcelain brooch! So beautiful and romantic. :) Thankyou for inviting me to join your link party again!
Jennelise

Bliss said...

Great features, I'm gonna pop over and investigate a couple I haven't seen. And how fun would it be to resurrect the art of painting a portrait in porcelain? I would have one of my daughters done.

~Bliss~

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

What a gorgeous collection. Thanks for the history of them.

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Patti, these are just amazing, what a collection you have. I just have a couple of the framed ones, don't think they are originals, but I love their look. Just linked up, thanks for hosting!!

It's All Connected said...

I am so impressed with your collection of miniatures! They are absolutely lovely. Thanks for hosting. ~ Maureen

Rhonda said...

Love your miniature portraits and I enjoyed reading a little about their history. I think it is just the most romantic thing ever! Thanks for sharing and hosting.
Rhonda

Boxwood Cottage said...

Oh Pattie you have the most beautiful and interesting collections! These mini portraits are just wonderful!
Sending you warm Spring wishes from Germany
Carola x

jeanetteann said...

Such beautiful little gems are gorgeous, I love the decanters in the first feature too.
x jeanetteann

Tina said...

I have always enjoyed looking at miniature portraits. Your collection is wonderful. Lovely features this week.

Thank you for hosting.
Have a great day

Tina Eudora said...

They are all so precious but if I had to choose just one I would definitely go for the wild red haired one with the blue hat! She looks sassy!
Have a wonderful day Patti!
Tina xo

Tracey@Breathing English Air said...

These are so pretty. I wonder in how many the artist was perhaps a little generous, and would be suitors were disappointed by the real thing! I suppose it is only like us today showing the pics we look our best in.

Curtains in My Tree said...

You have the pretties & best things ever to show

I have one small portrait painting and it has been made into a brooch & pendant. It is larger than any cameo I have ever seen , took it to Antique road show when I went last year
I love it on a chain

polkadotpeticoat said...

These little portraits are so beautiful and I love small's the best and Blessed serendipity's light!

Olive Cooper said...

Patti, the potato chip analogy is just so funny but spot on as these are adorable collectables. thanks for hosting. I just linked. Hugs, Olive

Laurel Stephens said...

I always thought it was so romantic that one would have the first glimpse of their betrothed from a painting he or she sent them. Contrast that with online dating today! What a different world in which we live! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for hosting today's party.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

My these are wonderful...I haven't seen them very often except in grand homes and museums. So lovely.

A Cottage Muse said...

Hi Pattie...thank you for hosting!
Love this petite collection, the portraits are so beautiful!

~Tablescapes By Diane~ said...

Hi lovely lady.
Your portrait collection is Beautiful.
Thanks so much for hosting your linky party. I hope you have a wonderful week with your family.
XXOO Diane

Judy Haughton-James said...

Wow! Very interesting post with such beautiful pictures. I am happy to be able to link up this week. I have a huge collection of bird figurines so decided to add a link to a series I have started. Take care and have a good Wednesday.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

What beautiful miniatures, such a pleasure to see them, thank you so much for sharing your collection and thank you for hosting today.

Johanna said...

Hi Patti,
this is another really lovely collection. I also think, it would be very interesting to know the histories behind those paintings. Some of the frames remind me to Fabergé frames. Those portaits are really treasures. Thank you so much for sharing all this outstanding collections.
Best greetings, Johanna

Relyn said...

You know, I love the little portraits that are on the covers of great old books. Love them!

Patsy said...

Thank you so much for inviting me to your party! I have posted a vintage recipe for cheese straws, and joined your beautiful blog! xo Patsy

The Tablescaper said...

Each is prettier than the next! It makes you wonder about the stories behind each.

- The Tablescaper

Connie (aka LOU) said...

Patti -

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am a new follower of yours as well, and I did link up. I like your history of the miniatures. It is funny but I totally forgot my mother used to have a couple of miniature pictures of ladies on our living room wall in really ornate looking frames, and I remember asking her who those women were, and she said she had no idea. I couldn't figure why someone would have pictures of people that they didn't know. I think she must have been ahead of time. Now I wonder whatever happened to those ladies. Thanks for the sweet memory!!
Connie LOU

Deserae said...

Your miniature portraits are just gorgeous! I enjoyed reading the history behind them too! Thank you for hosting such a fabulous party too :o)
~Des

The Blue Farmhouse said...

Hello Patti,
What a beautiful blog you have. I have a couple of vintage photographs from friends and I absolutely love them and treasure them in my home.

Nann from At Nann's Table said...

Your miniatures are exquisite and remind me of the few of my own and I treasure them. What a gorgeous collection. Thankyou for sharing them.

Enjoyed your features. What talented creative gals. Theres a couple that I just must see yet.

Thanks Patti for hosting another fun linky party. I love to participate.

Big hugs,

Nann

www.MaisonStGermain.com said...

They're so pretty! I love the history behind them. Thanks for sharing that with us. Now I will look at them in a whole different way:)
~Debra xxx
Capers of the vintage vixens

Linda said...

Many thanks again for hosting. your miniature portraits are just lovely.
I always enjoy the featured posts.

Palomasea said...

Dear Patti, these are SO gorgeous! Thank you for enlightening us on the story behind these miniature masterpieces. I learn something new every time I visit you, and I am so grateful for that!
Have a beautiful weekend, dear friend..
xoxo,
- Irina

Gail said...

ooooh these are beautiful !! can you imagine how talented the artists must have been to capture a persons likeness on such a tiny space....lovely...Gail x

French and Sparrow said...

Thanks so much for visiting me & leaving such a sweet comment Pattie!
And I must say what a lovely post about these gorgeous miniture portraits. Your beautiful thoughts really spoke to me...
I'm off to have a look around
xox Kerry

Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique said...

Thanks for the invite ladies. I'm so pleased to find you and join in the fun of your link party.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Just linked up! thanks for hosting Patti!

Debbiedoo's said...

Hi Patti...I think the post you linked up to the reunion party did not show up. Check it on your end, but it brought me to a blank page.

Burlap Luxe said...

Thank you Patti for your beautiful visit :)
You always have the best encouragement to my artful pieces :)

And you must have a treasure trove of collected vintage, there is always so much beauty over here :)

See you soon and all the beauty you inspire, thank you beautiful friend.
xoxo
Dore

momto8 said...

thanks for the history lesson and the lovely lovely pictures!!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

PATTI DEAR!!!!!!!!!

Again, your wares and finesse are just spectacular. I am reminded of the beautiful articles my mother in law once had in her shop that started my collection 30 years ago when I married. Many moves across the country forced me to lighten up on my collection so these days, I have few pieces, but some similar to this!

I AM ON SPRING BREAK NEXT WEEK!

And, I resigned from teaching full-time. I start subbing in September so I can pursue art and writing. Risky, isn't it.....

LOVE AND HUGS AND THANK YOU FOR VISITING!!! Anita

Kelly @ NJ History said...

I love those too. Whenever I go to estate sales or garage sales I always look for them.

Red Rose Alley said...

I can't believe how pretty these portraits are, and I think my favorite is the lady with the hat, your very first one. You are talking with a lover of portraits. I collect frames, and whenever I see a unique one, I just have to buy it. Pictures are treasures to me. I think that is why I love Photography so much. There is so much memory in each and every picture. I used to look at my mom's old black and whites, and wonder about the story behind the picture. You have such a beautiful collection of frames here, and your post brought a smile to my face, as I respect, admire, and love a unique and special picture and frame.
~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

Julie Marie said...

Hello Patti (and Paula!)... I always have to come back to your posts because I am afraid I might have missed something... these are all sooo beautiful... and you guessed it Patti... now I want to start a small collection of them (is there such a thing as a small collection???)... I told you I have a brooch that I believe is someone in my family... so I have a start!... love to you, always look sooo forward to your Wednesday posts... xoxo Julie Marie

Mimi said...

Love the pretty vignette by French Bleu Vintage. Have a wonderful weekend!

Kelly said...

That is interesting to learn the history behind those portraits. You've got quite a nice collection too.

Marilou of Lulus Lovlies and Heartful Creations said...

I just linked up to your blog party Patti, thanks for stopping by, now you have a new follower as well. I looks like we have similar interest as I love everything Vintage and Victorian too:) I love old photos and I'm sure everything has a story behind it:) Hugs Marilou

Jillian's Bella Rosa Antiques said...

The miniatures are amazing... I would love to collect them but the PRICES are so high! Maybe one day when I'm done working towards Bebe's college days. Ha!

lisa Moran, Bilancia Designs said...

Patti~
I've been so busy with weddings lately I haven't been able to visit my favorite blogs. I've been missing a lot with your gorgeous posts...
I'm amazed at all the gorgeous collections you continue to showcase, not to mention the history behind these beauties.
It's always such a pleasure to come here.
Wishing you a beautiful, blessed weekend, Patti.
Until next time.. xo

Kathy said...

This is a beautiful portrait collection and I loved the history lesson. I am your newest follower.

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Now you know that this gal with a Victorian soul would just LOVE these, don't you?
Stunning!!

Thanks so much for hosting!!

Hugs,
Deb

June said...

Patti these are just amazing and so are your photos of them!!!!!!!!! I have always wanted to purchase these and start a collection but haven't because you don't see many around here in my state. Your collection is just so lovely!!!
I love going down the list of people who link up for your party. I see so many inspiring things here!!!
sending many hugs your way...

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh the portrait collection is just awesome!!

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Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart ~ French Proverb ~ We are so grateful that you stopped by ~ Please visit again soon! ~ Much Love, Patricia and Paula