Miniature portraits and those that are installed in jewels have different meanings in their construction. On one, the miniature needs to convey the sense of a person in that a photograph would today and on the other, a jewel can be worn forever and keep the loved one secret and close to the heart.
For more on this concept, the Georgian eye miniatures tell a grander tale from George IV, please read more on that below:
This pendant is a non-conformist one. The miniatures was designed first and its housing was a later consideration, as there is an irregular shape to the setting. This leads to the questions that are lost to time; who was the portrait for? why was it earlier than the setting? What was the attachment for at the bottom of this piece?
All these questions, though lost to time, are worth our supposition. Questions that can be asked to discover more may even open up discussions that lead to answer similar pieces. With that in mind, let’s throw some esoteric ideas into the ether!
The child’s face, with its styled curled hair, combed forward in the type of the early 19th century is fashionable. This is the beginning of understanding the greater details of the piece. Following this, the eyes in an almond shape are detailed in the neoclassical ideal; not a true depiction of the person, but a style that was popular and considered ‘beautiful’. Ruddy red cheeks, sharp nose and full lips all show the ideal of the child in art that may not have been a true representation, but one that was ideal for the memory.
Questions arising from this are; post-mortem or not? Did the miniaturist have a subject to copy the identity of the person from? Or was the jewel simply bought and tailored to the subject as a love token?
Questions like these may be lost to time, but what we do have is a brilliant locket that resonates a beauty through the ages.