Friday, September 02, 2011

Special Loan Exhibition of Royal Portrait Miniatures

The Annual Exhibition of the The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers will this year have an additional Special Loan Exhibition of Royal Portrait Miniatures from Queen Elizabeth 1 (1533 - 1603) to Queen Elizabeth II (1926-present).

I gather news of it is triggering miniature artists and collectors to book airtravel to London from all over the world!

‘George IV, as Prince of Wales’, watercolour on ivory
by Richard Cosway (1742-1821)

Private Collection.
‘Special Loan Exhibition of Royal Portrait Miniatures’ at the Mall Galleries

The exhibition is being curated by Richard Chadwick, a leading historian and researcher of antique portrait miniatures.

The Royal portrait miniatures by some of the greatest miniature artists over the last 400 years are being loaned from private collections worldwide.  Many of them have never been seen in public before.  They cover miniatures of Kings and Queens from the reign of Elizabeth I to that of the present Queen.

‘Princess Alexandra on Her Wedding Day’, watercolour on ivory
by Charles Turrell (1846-1932).
Private Collection.
‘Special Loan Exhibition of Royal Portrait Miniatures’ at the Mall Galleries

The masterworks include
  • a miniature of Queen Victoria, commissioned by the Queen herself for presentation to the explorer Henry Morton Stanley and set in a magnificent diamond-set frame 
  • King Charles I by the 17th century artist John Hoskins, Frederick, Prince of Wales by Christian Frederick Zincke 
  • the great enamel artist Henry Bone's portrait of Princess Elizabeth given by her to Lord St. Helens in 1810 
The exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries at the same time as The Royal Miniature Society's usual Annual Exhibition which runs from Tuesday 11th - Sunday 23rd October 2011, 10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day).  Admission is free.  Artists submitted nearly one thousand miniatures in August, which the selection panel reduced to about six hundred for display in the Annual Exhibition.

I'll be reviewing the exhibition in October when I'll be able to show you more of the work on display.

You can find out about the history of the RMS on their website.  The website also includes details of how to submit artwork for the annual exhibition

To find out out more about Miniature Art see Miniature Art - Resources for Artists.  This site has resources covering:

  • the definition of miniature art - including Mughal miniatures and netsuke
  • museum and private collections of miniature art - and tips for collectors
  • information about miniature art societies, exhibitions and competitions
  • information about contemporary miniature artists
  • resources for those wanting to learn how to paint miniature and/or needing specialist art supplies


  1. It was news to me that watercolour could be painted onto ivory. Do you know how it was sealed against chipping and water damage?
    Thanks for the fascinating post.

  2. Good question - I'm afraid I don't. I will however see if I can rustle up an answer for you

  3. like any watercolour it has to be behind glass and with a mount or with the glass not touching the work. Usually ivory or ivorine (the kinder plastic version of ivory avoiding the death of elephants) has a silver leaf backing board to allow light to be reflected back through the tiny brush strokes.

  4. Hi Katherine,

    I would like to make something similar to a portrait miniature, only simpler and cheaper. Do you have any information on where to purchase the locket to put a small oval shaped painting on regular watercolor paper in it? Or, do you have any information in general on creating paintings inside lockets?
    Thank you.
    I admire your work ever so.

  5. All the info I have is listed in the resources site at the end of the post.

    I can't remember which link has the details about the oval frames - but one of them has!


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