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Some included interiors with one to several figures in almost Hogarthian interaction.
It is difficult to imagine how the artist managed such detail on that scale.
Miniatures appear to have come into their own, and for a much broader spectrum of the population in the 18th Century, when they were owned by royalty, gentry, and commoner folk alike.
The range of quality of extant frames and mounts, the painting surface itself, and relative skill of the painter suggest that they were much more widely available to middling folk as well as to the upper classes.
Some few are profiles, such as the Richard Cosway self-portrait mentioned below, or the William Blake miniature, and a few were of the frontal view.
Some were of course full length, particularly the erotic ones, but the majority were what we would think of as a bust that includes the shoulders and upper chest.
Most artists, often called limners in the period, used that techniquebut not all.
Some extant pieces show a smoother handling, especially if the medium is other than watercolor and the surface has more tooth or texture than ivory, and some are very much looser indeed.
Except for the lace collar of the period, the work is surprisingly modern; the Earl might have lived in the second half of the 20th century.In the eighteenth century, artists on the Continent and in America were commissioned to create miniature paintings that were personal, political, erotic or otherwise.These small, portable images included likenesses of lovers and the betrothed, husbands, wives and children; kings, queens, princes, generals, consorts, and the deceased done as funeral pieces or memorials.John Linnell took commissions for miniatures only reluctantly, but as Graham Reynolds writes, when he did so imparted to them through his rough texture and bold stippling an idiosyncratic quality which marks them out from the work of his contemporaries. Linnells miniature of William Blake is one of the most immediate and energetic Ive ever seen, and perhaps captures more of Blakes personality than those images with a more controlled handling.Amazingly, he managed this freshness while still using the traditional watercolor on ivory, a real tour de force.
Rosalba Carriera introduced the idea of painting miniatures on ivory early in the18th Century to simulate the translucence she achieved with her pastel portraits, and other miniaturists were quick to follow her lead.