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English Portrait Miniature of a Child, Circa 1840-50.

English Portrait Miniature of a Child,

Circa 1840-50.

A beautifully painted posthumous portrait of a young child in gold locket designed originally to be a bracelet.

Dimensions: 1 3/4 inches x 2 inches




The late eighteenth-century emergence of the modern family opened

a new era in the history of children. Once viewed as sinful, children

were instead identified as inherently good and celebrated in families

linked by bonds of affection. In miniatures created to honor beloved

children, their forms often fill the frame, reinforcing the sense that the

portrait presents a window into a child’s world.With a growing

awareness of the transience of each phase of child development, adults

treasured the uniqueness of the moments in portable portraits that

tenderly recorded their son’s or daughter’s love for a favorite toy

or pet.The growth of increasingly private, child-centered families also

made loss—so frequent in an era of high mortality rates—harder to

bear, contributing to the miniature’s popularity as a token of mourning.


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