Miniatures

Watch Alan Derbyshire, conservator of portrait miniatures, demonstrate the techniques used in making miniatures as he shares more about the history of this type of portrait.

An audio-described version of this film is available.

 

Here's a selection of miniatures from our Collection. Explore the full list.

    Queen Mary I,    attributed to Lucas Horenbout (or Hornebolte),    circa 1525,    NPG 6453,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Queen Mary I
attributed to Lucas Horenbout (or Hornebolte)
watercolour on vellum, circa 1525
1 3/8 in. (35 mm) sight diameter
NPG 6453
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Katherine of Aragon,    attributed to Lucas Horenbout (or Hornebolte),    circa 1525-1526,    NPG L244,    Private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London Katherine of Aragon
attributed to Lucas Horenbout (or Hornebolte)
watercolour on vellum, circa 1525-1526
1 1/2 in. (39 mm) diameter
NPG L244
Private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London
    Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex,    attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger,    circa 1532-1533,    NPG 6310,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum, circa 1532-1533
1 3/4 in. (44 mm) diameter
NPG 6310
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Queen Elizabeth I,    by Nicholas Hilliard,    1572,    NPG 108,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Queen Elizabeth I
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour on vellum, 1572
2 in. x 1 7/8 in. (51 mm x 48 mm) oval
NPG 108
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban,    by Nicholas Hilliard,    1578,    NPG 6761,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum laid on card, 1578
2 3/8 in. x 1 7/8 in. (60 mm x 47 mm) image size (sight)
NPG 6761
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Sir Francis Drake,    by Nicholas Hilliard,    1581,    NPG 4851,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Sir Francis Drake
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour on vellum, 1581
1 1/8 in. (28 mm) diameter
NPG 4851
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Sir Walter Ralegh (Raleigh),    by Nicholas Hilliard,    circa 1585,    NPG 4106,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Sir Walter Ralegh (Raleigh)
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour on vellum, circa 1585
1 7/8 in. x 1 5/8 in. (48 mm x 41 mm) oval
NPG 4106
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Henry, Prince of Wales,    by Isaac Oliver,    circa 1610,    NPG 1572,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Henry, Prince of Wales
by Isaac Oliver
watercolour on vellum, circa 1610
2 in. x 1 5/8 in. (51 mm x 41 mm) oval
NPG 1572
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset,    by Nicholas Hilliard,    circa 1611,    NPG 4260,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
by Nicholas Hilliard
watercolour on vellum, circa 1611
1 3/4 in. x 1 3/8 in. (44 mm x 35 mm) oval
NPG 4260
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland,    attributed to John Hoskins,    1630s,    NPG 6304,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland
attributed to John Hoskins
watercolour on vellum, 1630s
2 in. x 1 5/8 in. (51 mm x 41 mm) oval
NPG 6304
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    King Charles I,    by David Des Granges, after  John Hoskins,    based on a work of circa 1645,    NPG 1924,    © National Portrait Gallery, London King Charles I
by David Des Granges, after John Hoskins
watercolour on vellum, based on a work of circa 1645
3 1/4 in. x 2 1/2 in. (83 mm x 64 mm) oval
NPG 1924
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Oliver Cromwell,    by Samuel Cooper,    1649,    NPG 5589,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Oliver Cromwell
by Samuel Cooper
watercolour on vellum, 1649
2 1/4 in. x 1 7/8 in. (57 mm x 48 mm) oval
NPG 5589
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester,    by Peter Cross,    circa 1685-1690,    NPG 1696,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester
by Peter Cross
watercolour on vellum, circa 1685-1690
3 1/8 in. x 2 3/8 in. (79 mm x 60 mm) oval
NPG 1696
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Thomas Winnington,    by Christian Friedrich Zincke,    circa 1725,    NPG 85,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Thomas Winnington
by Christian Friedrich Zincke
enamel on copper, circa 1725
1 3/4 in. x 1 1/2 in. (44 mm x 38 mm) oval
NPG 85
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Josiah Spode I,    by Unknown artist,    circa 1790-1795,    NPG 4586,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Josiah Spode I
by Unknown artist
watercolour and bodycolour on ivory, circa 1790-1795
3 in. x 2 3/8 in. (76 mm x 60 mm) oval
NPG 4586
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    King George IV,    by Richard Cosway,    1792,    NPG 5389,    © National Portrait Gallery, London King George IV
by Richard Cosway
watercolour on ivory, 1792
2 3/4 in. x 2 1/4 in. (70 mm x 57 mm) oval
NPG 5389
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Queen Victoria,    by Mary Helen Carlisle,        NPG 2088,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Queen Victoria
by Mary Helen Carlisle
watercolour on ivory
3 1/4 in. x 4 in. (83 mm x 102 mm) oval
NPG 2088
© National Portrait Gallery, London
    Stanley Baldwin,    by Winifred Cécile Dongworth,    exhibited 1925,    NPG 5030,    © National Portrait Gallery, London Stanley Baldwin
by Winifred Cécile Dongworth
watercolour on ivory, exhibited 1925
2 1/2 in. x 2 in. (64 mm x 51 mm) oval
NPG 5030
© National Portrait Gallery, London