Monday, September 28, 2015

Miniature Portrait Mystery

I had a trip to Denver last month and had a little too much fun there with the shopping. We checked out their Goodwill Outlet stores which put our Omaha store to shame! In case you don't know, they sell stuff by the pound and it's like a giant treasure hunt! Or a disgusting mess, depending on your thrifting level. I spent $30 and got an antique quilt, a pouf (which I looked up on wayfair and it was $125), a combined 30 pieces of clothing for me and the little one, a couple pairs of shoes, misc. toys I got talked into and some other random stuff. It's a good thing I don't live near those suckers or I would be a level 10 hoarder in about 2 months!

l have most of my treasures boxed up yet because I'm still working on the plaster etc. on the walls so why pull it out to get dirty (my excuse *cough* hoarding?) I did pull these out of my stash because they fascinate me. It was the last sale before lunch and these were just sitting on the table. This was the first to catch my eye.

At first I thought it might be a good gift for my brother but nah, the style is what would you guess? 1850's?? English?? a little pre-Victorian era so it would be a little too "old fashioned" for his house. (I know he's reading this right now going "whatever") I then noticed the glass was hand beveled and also the metal on the frame was all hand cut.

I examined the what I thought (and probably what the estate people thought - since you see the $2 price tag) was a print only to discover it is a painting! Perhaps a very old painting?? (I have a minor in art history so I only know enough to get myself in trouble) I can see she is on velum but I'm not going to take it apart and disrupt it.

The artist signature looks to be D.J. She's only about 3" tall but the detail is incredible! These photos just don't do her justice and I personally think she should be in a museum somewhere but I know next to nothing about miniature portraits and she seems pretty happy at my house...

This gal was $4 so maybe they could tell she was hand painted? as she's not as detailed and looks to have been in a fire (or maybe just was sitting above my fireplace for 50 years, ha!) She also is in a celluloid frame so maybe is newer? or perhaps the frame was added later as the painting almost looks like it has been trimmed, perhaps something in hopes of minimizing the fire damage??

She seems to be painted on something solid ivory? celluloid? so not as fragile as her friend. I am tempted to free her from her 1950's velveteen job and it also looks like she might pop out if I remove the metal trim but need I say "half finished project" again? Her signature is also hard to make out (I guess I should get a closer shot of it) and it looks like part of it has been trimmed away to add to the illegible-ness of it.

I think my mom and I are fighting over these still but you can see they are at my house. I do love a good mystery item! I enjoy looking at these ladies, wondering about their history and imagining them sitting in a fancy parlor somewhere long ago! I was reading a little into the history of miniature portraits and it's very interesting. In this era of having a cell phone full of photos, I never thought about what one did if they wanted an easily portable picture of a loved one pre-photography. If anyone has anymore information or good reads about these let me know!

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