Thursday, 31 August 2017

Portrait Miniatures by George C Williamson

Portrait Miniatures by George C. Williamson
First published in the UK by The Studio in 1910. Republished by ForgottenBooks in 2014.

Where to buy this book:



Amazon UK

Amazon US




The Book Depository



How I got this book:
Downloaded from ForgottenBooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Study the dynamic art of portrait miniatures in Portrait Miniatures From the Time of Holbein to That of Sir William Ross: a Handbook for Collectors by art historian George Williamson, which surveys the works of the artists who made portrait miniatures. Williamson explains that the practice of portrait miniature originated in manuscript illustration, and may also be an outgrowth of treaties and maps, which often attached portraits of ambassadors for verification.

"Miniature" in this context refers to the fact that the paintings were actually portable. The book begins with a 40-page essay and is followed by dozens of reproductions of the paintings discussed within the text. Williamson identifies Hans Holbein as the greatest painter of portrait miniatures and he presents several examples of Holbein's art, explaining what it is that makes the examples 'masterworks'. One of the portraits pictured in the book was on loan from J.P. Morgan's private collection and many of the portraits reproduced for the book were lent by their famous collectors.

Shadow of Night, a fantasy novel which I read shortly before this, made much of a pair of miniature portraits so when this book popped up as the ForgottenBooks choice of the day, I was interested enough to download it.

Williamson has written a brief essay overview of miniature portrait artists from the 1500s to the 1800s. Due to its short length, not many get a look in, but the essay is studded with biographical details and anecdotes about the works. The writing is quite dry, but informative.

The shame about the presentation of this book as a reprint download is that the great quantity of illustrations are all in black and white, and none are particularly clear. It is possible to zoom in, but not to make out the intricate details referred to by Williamson.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by George C Williamson / Art books / Books from England

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