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Part of The American Wing
Margaret Bogardus (1804–1878)
Date: ca. 1840Accession Number: 2009.15a–c
Charles Cromwell Ingham (American (born Ireland), Dublin 1786–1863 New York)
Date: 1844Accession Number: 2006.235.90
James Peale (American, Chestertown, Maryland 1749–1831 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Date: 1812Accession Number: 38.146.8
Nathaniel Rogers (American, Bridgehampton, New York 1788–1844 Bridgehampton, New York)
Accession Number: 2006.235.166
Charles Fraser (1782–1860)
Date: 1819Accession Number: 28.209.2
Thomas Badger (1764–1826)
Date: 1830sAccession Number: 2006.235.324
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The tradition of miniature painting—tiny watercolor portraits on ivory—emerged in America in the eighteenth century. Based on European models, portrait miniatures are related to ancient and medieval devotional paintings and illuminated manuscripts. Originally made to be worn or carried, each is inextricably tied to its function as memento, love token, or reliquary. The works in this gallery portray husbands, wives, lovers, and children, both living and dead, and commemorate births, deaths, and marriages. The miniatures have been placed in a range of mounts, including metal lockets, other types of jewelry, and pocket-sized leather cases. After the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839, many miniaturists abandoned their art, but some chose to compete with photography. A later revival of the tradition endured into the early decades of the twentieth century.
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