Unknown - portraits of lady and gentleman

Miniature portraits come in various sizes, largely depending upon the fashion of the time and the wealth of the person who commissioned the portrait.

In the 18C, up to around 1790, they were mainly oval and small in size, say 45mm x 35mm. This is sometimes referred to as "modest school" from the size.

After 1790, the standard size for oval miniatures tended to be around 70mm x 76mm and the lasted until it overlapped with rectangular miniatures around 1810 onwards.

Rectangular ones tended to be 80mm x 60mm or larger.

This pair are very unusual for the post 1800 period in being modest size at 40mm x 30mm.

There are only two other American miniatures in this collection which are post 1800 and of modest size. They are all shown here compared with a miniature of more normal size.

Attribution of the pair of miniatures has not been possible so far. From the style of painting, for example the pose, the eyes, and the mouths, it is clear that they are both painted by the same artist. From the clothing and hair styles, they look to be from around 1820, probably American given the frame style.

However, a kind visitor feels they look Continental. A likely explanation is that they were painted in America by an artist originally trained in France.

After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, a number of miniature painters emigrated to the United States.

The images are sharper than appears here, as they have been scanned through the glass.

As can be seen from the images of the reverse of the four modest school miniatures, the rear of the cases are all plain gold.

Thus, they are all opened via the front. this often being the sign of an American miniature.

The pair has plain bezels, whereas the two small unmatched miniatures have beaded bezels, normally a slightly later decoration after around 1810, but also normally a sign of an American miniature.

Regretfully, the sitters are unknown. 1321a, 1321b, 880, 909

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