The portrait miniature is a form that developed from manuscript illumination in the 16th century in Europe and continued for over four hundred years. Its practitioners worked predominantly in watercolor and gouache on vellum and ivory, but also in enamel. The Cleveland Museum of Art has an extensive collection of portrait miniatures a selection of which are on display in the gallery of British art in the 1916 building. The following is a bibliography of important texts on English and Continental portrait miniatures.
Les peintres en miniature actifs en France, 1650-1850 by Natalie Lemoine-Bouchard is a recently published biographical dictionary of French miniature painters. The text, written in French, begins with a discussion of the definition and history of the form in France. The conventions page is cleanly organized and easy to understand. This follows with the biographies, covering 500 pages. Examples of the artist's work line the margins. The book finishes with an extensive biography, and an index. Ref ND1337.F7 L46 2008
International Dictionary of Miniature Painters, Porcelain Painters, Silhouettists by Harry Blättel covers artists working in miniature, as well as porcelain and silhouette. This extensive text is uniquely orgainized, with numerous tables and abbreviations on a laminated card. Entries are limited to a single line of description, with related affiliations and credentials. Illustrations are limited to several glossy advertisements for auction houses. A bibliography and index follows. Text in English, German, and French. Ref
ND1336 .B63 1992
A Dictionary of British Miniature Painters by Daphne Foskett is a two volume set focusing on, as the title suggests, British painters in miniature. Entries are thorough, with relevant dates and data included, as well as lists of sitters, and credentials. The first volume is sparsely illustrated in color, while the second volume is devoted to monochrome plates. Ref ND1337.G7 F463 1972b
Portrait Miniatures, the Edward B. Greene Collection was published in 1951 by the Cleveland Museum of Art upon the donation of the collection to the Museum, and accompanied the exhibition of the same title. The preface, by William Milliken extols the virtues of the collection, is followed by a discussion of the history and technique of miniatures. Illustrations in color and monochrome complete the volume. Of the six exhibitions at the Museum which included miniatures, this text is the only published catalog. CMA Ref N7616 .C49 1951
Collecting Miniatures is the most recent publication on the subject of forming a collection of miniatures. Even at nearly 30 years old, this text is highly useful and informative because the author recognizes that developing a collection is intrinsically dependent on a thorough knowledge of a subject. The chapters follow the history of the miniature, predominantly in Europe. A closing chapter on identifying fakes and forgeries is the most practical advice in the entire text. Illustrations are monochrome and color, and a short bibliography follows. ND1337.G7 F462 1979
Turn of the century collectors had numerous guides to the medium, How to Identify Portrait Miniatures by George C. WIlliamson, Chats on Old Miniatures by J.J. Foster, and Heirlooms in Miniatures by Anne Hollingsworth Wharton all provide ample evidence of this early literature. The two former authors, wrote extensively in the field. N7616 .W48 1904, N7616 .F6 1908a, N7616 .W5 1898.
The library also holds catalogs for the first two major exhibitions devoted solely to miniatures, at the South Kensington Museum in 1865 and at the Burlington Fine Arts Club. The former is a strictly textual resource, while the latter, a folio, includes extensive monochrome illustrations. N7616 .S6 1865, Folio
N7616 .B8 1889.
Recent scholarship in the field is extensive, an extensive review of the literature is found in the catalog, Masterpieces in Little, by Christopher Lloyd and Vanessa Remington. In addition to the extensive bibliography, the preface to the book provides a thorough discussion of scholarship in the field. ND1335.6.E45 L56 1996