April 2013 - Painting miniature portraits

In many respects the painting of miniature portraits is a lost art in the 21C, with viewers of 18C and 19C miniature portraits astounded by the quality and artist's skill when seen up close or inspected with a magnifying glass. A very rare book about miniature painting Letters and Papers of Andrew Robertson AM by Emily Robertson includes a letter dated September 25, 1800 written in New York by Archibald Robertson and mailed to his brother Andrew Robertson in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is headed Treatise on Miniature Painting by Archibald Robertson and the 15 page letter is perhaps the fullest available account of how an accomplished artist painted miniatures in the early 19C. As the book is virtually unobtainable, I thought I should photograph the relevant pages from a copy of the book I have here and post them for those interested in trying out the art form. The image quality is not the best as I was trying to work out how to use a new camera, so I apologise for any difficulty in reading the pages.

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