Making Portrait Miniatures
Miniature painting was an important art form in Britain for nearly 400 years. Miniaturists gained international reputations and it was seen as a particularly British type of art. Portrait miniatures were first developed at the court of Henry VIII in the 1520s. They were small-scale images painted in watercolour on calfskin (vellum) and later on ivory. Originally associated just with royalty and small circles of courtiers, their popularity grew over time. By the 18th century, they were widespread and there were many amateur miniaturists. Tokens of love and loyalty, miniatures were given or exchanged, worn, displayed or concealed in ways that reflect the societies in which they were made.