Painted portrait miniatures have been very collectible amongst antique jewelry devotees, with an exquisite collection being offered at Fellows Auction in their Antique & Modern Jewellery Sale on July 16th, 2015. The painted portraits seen here are all created during the 19th century or early 20th century, when they were inspiring tokens of friendship and love. Exchanging them amongst family members, friends, loved ones, secret lovers and even portraits of leaders or important individuals of the time were the most frequent occurrences. These were often done with watercolors on ivory or porcelain. We all know how cherished photographs are, with these hand-painted works of art being the predecessors of tintypes and modern photography.
The frames of painted portraits were often symbolic and ranged in many different varieties–some were surrounded by diamonds, others in gemstones that were acrostic and spelled out words, sometimes snakes were used, or ivy, ribbons or decorative flowers, gold work and embellished with enamel was also often done. Incredibly curious and preciously collectible, these eight examples up for auction from Fellows are sure to be big sellers on the auction block.
Excited to see the outcome!
Lot 422: This early 20th century portrait miniature is done in 18k gold with a frame of diamonds and rubies. On the back holds a lock of hair, whom the portrait is painted of. Such a keepsake!
Lot 508: Another early 20th century portrait miniature, this time a brooch with a frame of rose cut diamonds and pearls. The back of this holds hair as well! Great condition!
Lot 553: This portrait of a young girl is done in 18k gold and silver, with a four-point leaf detail frame accented with rose cut diamonds. The piece is a brooch which has a neat backside–a hand-written note, most of which I’m unfamiliar with, but I can read the word “Paris.” You must check out the reverse-side photo on the Fellows’ website.
Lot 559: This portrait miniature features a wreath motif surrounding the painting of a young girl. It is a circular shape and is a brooch, set with rose cut diamonds and pearls. Nothing on the back.
Lot 569: Both a brooch and a pendant, this portrait miniature is set with some gorgeous foil-backed garnets and green gems. A pearl dangles from the bottom and the portrait depicts a young woman with a bird. Not sure if the bird is just turned sideways or if it is dead–but she does appear somber in the portrait, so maybe she is weeping over her dead bird friend. (?)
Lot 573: A portrait miniature brooch that depicts an older woman in a dress of the period, this piece is done on ivory. The frame is beautifully done in rose cut diamonds and a few pearls at the top. Such a pretty brooch!
Lot 602: An enameled seated lady depicted in this necklace that is a locket! A truly unique piece, with dashes of pearls to accent the delicate style and a cluster of four diamonds at the top. The locket easily opens up and there is currently nothing inside. Would make a great item to pass along to daughters or granddaughters.
Lot 679: Another locket, this one depicting a woman wearing a beautiful necklace made up of actual diamonds within the piece–a neat detail! The woman also wears some beautiful flowers in her hair and the colors of the enamel are very striking!
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