Sunday, October 2, 2011

Masterpiece of the week: An Enamel Miniature of Queen Charlotte, 1781

Queen Charlotte
Miniature set in gold with rubies and pearls.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This oval portrait miniature depicts Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, Consort of King George III, wearing a white dress and hat with a high white wig. As was the style of the time, the miniature is painted enamel on copper and placed in a frame of gold set with rubies and pearls. The rubies are backed in copper foil to add shimmer.

Such miniatures were presented as gifts by Royalty to admirers or loyal courtiers. As Queen Charlotte was an avid patron of the arts, it is possible that this was given to a favorite artist. The painting is based on the famous portrait of the Queen by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88).

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