British Portrait Miniatures

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Showcases the Cleveland Museum of Art's internationally renowned collection of British portrait miniatures in a completely new catalogue. Highlights include exquisite miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard, Isaac Oliver and Richard Cosway.

Text of British Portrait Miniatures

  • BRITISH PORTRAITMINIATURES

    t h e c l e v e l a n dm u s e u m o f a rt

    It is an ornament with a human history the whole art and experience of one of the old masters compressed on to the space of a coin of the realm; a biography on a vignette; a secret whispered in the past, and now revealed with every tone preserved.J. Lumsden Propert, A History of Miniature Art, 1887

    publication dateDecember 2013

    titleBritish Portrait MiniaturesThe Cleveland Museum of ArtCory Korkow

    priceuk 40.00 | us $65.00

    specificationHardbackisbn 978-1-907804-23-6288 pages280 x 240 mm (9 11 in)365 colour illustrationsIn association with the Cleveland Museum of Art

    table of contentsDirectors Foreword Preface and Acknowledgments Collecting British Miniatures at

    the Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue Index of Artists

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    exhibition detailsBritish Portrait Miniatures from the Cleveland Museum of ArtNovember 10, 2013February 16, 2014

    An imprint of D Giles Limited4 Crescent Stables139 Upper Richmond RoadLondonsw15 2tnUK+44 (0)20 8780 5060www.gilesltd.com

    GILES

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  • 7The vast majority of the collections at the Cleveland Museum of Art are fragile, light-sensitive objects that cannot be on permanent view if they are to be preserved for future generations. We display them as often as we can, but for these works, their lives in print and online take on a new urgency, making them available at all times. Their publication is instrumental in spreading awareness of their presence in Cleveland, where scholars and members of the public alike are welcome to make appointments to study these treasures in person.

    This publication brings forward the museums remarkable British portrait miniatures, issued on the occasion of an exhibition that presents the entire collection of portrait miniatures at the Cleveland Museum of Art, works for which we have a worldwide reputation based on quality and condition, rather than exhaustive coverage. Executed on vellum, card, paper, ivory, and enamel, and often housed in the most extraordinary cases that are integral to the objects, portrait miniatures are complicated objects meant to be examined up close and from all sides. Several are published here for the first time.

    A specialist in British art, Research Fellow Cory Korkow joined the museum in 2008 to survey and catalogue this extraordinary collection. Dr. Korkow pioneered the museums first online catalogue, launched in 2012 and featuring a subset of the British miniatures. She also spear-headed a number of carefully considered acquisitions that would add to this core group of masterworks while maintaining the collections historic focus on quality, condition, and historical importance.

    I am grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for providing the initial funding for the early stages of this project, the Andrew W. Mellon Founda-tion for their support of scholarly publications, as well as the Painting and Drawing Society, whose generous sustenance of Dr. Korkows research and writing brought this catalogue and exhibition to fruition.

    David FranklinThe Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Director

    Directors Foreword

    Detail of cat. 7 (recto)

  • 7The vast majority of the collections at the Cleveland Museum of Art are fragile, light-sensitive objects that cannot be on permanent view if they are to be preserved for future generations. We display them as often as we can, but for these works, their lives in print and online take on a new urgency, making them available at all times. Their publication is instrumental in spreading awareness of their presence in Cleveland, where scholars and members of the public alike are welcome to make appointments to study these treasures in person.

    This publication brings forward the museums remarkable British portrait miniatures, issued on the occasion of an exhibition that presents the entire collection of portrait miniatures at the Cleveland Museum of Art, works for which we have a worldwide reputation based on quality and condition, rather than exhaustive coverage. Executed on vellum, card, paper, ivory, and enamel, and often housed in the most extraordinary cases that are integral to the objects, portrait miniatures are complicated objects meant to be examined up close and from all sides. Several are published here for the first time.

    A specialist in British art, Research Fellow Cory Korkow joined the museum in 2008 to survey and catalogue this extraordinary collection. Dr. Korkow pioneered the museums first online catalogue, launched in 2012 and featuring a subset of the British miniatures. She also spear-headed a number of carefully considered acquisitions that would add to this core group of masterworks while maintaining the collections historic focus on quality, condition, and historical importance.

    I am grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for providing the initial funding for the early stages of this project, the Andrew W. Mellon Founda-tion for their support of scholarly publications, as well as the Painting and Drawing Society, whose generous sustenance of Dr. Korkows research and writing brought this catalogue and exhibition to fruition.

    David FranklinThe Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Director

    Directors Foreword

    Detail of cat. 7 (recto)

  • 22 23 Collecting British Miniatures at the Cleveland Museum of Art

    rarely on display in the galleries. The 1993 Intimate Images exhibition at the CMA was one notable exception (fig. 5). On view for over six months, the show included nearly all of the British miniatures but provided neither a catalogue nor new research.

    Private support for miniatures did not die with Edward Greene. His daughter Helen Perry chose to honor her fathers passion by helping the museum purchase Hilliards charming Portrait of Charles Howard, 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham, later 1st Earl of Nottingham in 1960 (cat. 1). Several years later she gave the CMA a group of Smart drawings that had presumably belonged to her father but hadnt formed part of his gift. They included several large, finished portraits, which presented the museum with a dilemma about how to conceive of them in relationship to the miniatures. The answer seems to have been not to display them at all. These drawings are presented here for the first time.

    Most recently, the bequest of Muriel Butkin added eight important miniatures, among them the museums first work by Alexander Cooper, Portrait of Elizabeth Stuart, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia (cat. 13). Muriel

    Greene had stipulated that any profits from the sale of the catalogue go to funds for purchasing miniatures. Throughout his correspondence with the museum is this thread of future acquisitions, reinforcing his view of his gift as a seed that would be augmented over time. The museum bought a number of important miniatures during the early 1950s, including Smarts early Portrait of Constantine Phipps (cat. 28) and Cosways luxuriously set Portrait of Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orlans, later King of the French (cat. 68). An iconic Smart self-portrait (cat. 34) came to Cleveland in 1953 after the Fitzwilliam Museum was unable to raise the financial resources to purchase it.

    For tax purposes Greenes miniature collection had been divided into small groups and given to the museum in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1949, but it didnt go on view at the CMA until 1951 (figs. 3, 4). The exhibition was hailed as one of the most important events in the life of [the] thirty-five year old Museum of Art11 while Clevelands Plain Dealer publicized Greenes miniatures as the finest private collection in America.12 A decade after the exhibition closed, without the stimulus of a collector and his gifts, the miniature collection languishedmythic among experts in the field but

    Figure 3. From right to left, William Milliken, Henry Francis, Fred Hollendonner, and John Mackenzie surveying Edward Greenes miniature collection in preparation for the 35th Anniversary Exhibition, 19 February 1951. Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art Archives. Image used with permission of the Plain Dealer.

    Figure 4. Gallery view of the 35th Anniversary Exhibition, the Cleveland Museum of Art, 20 June23 September 1951. The Cleveland Museum of Art Archives, Records of the Photography Studio.

  • 22 23 Collecting British Miniatures at the Cleveland Museum of Art

    rarely on display in the galleries. The 1993 Intimate Images exhibition at the CMA was one notable exception (fig. 5). On view for over six months, the show included nearly all of the British miniatures but provided neither a catalogue nor new research.

    Private support for miniatures did not die with Edward Greene. His daughter Helen Perry chose to honor her fathers passion by helping the museum purchase Hilliards charming Portrait of Charles Howard, 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham, later 1st Earl of Nottingham in 1960 (cat. 1). Several years later she gave the CMA a group of Smart drawings that had presumably belonged to her father but hadnt formed part of his gift. They included several large, finished portraits, which presented the museum with a dilemma about how to conceive of them in relationship to the miniatures. The answer seems to have been not to display them at all. These drawings are presented here for the fir