What’s Inside the Traveling Studio of an 18th Century Miniature Portrait Artist?

This is a lovely post! Enjoy!

The Cozy Drawing Room of Laurie Benson

Miniature Portrait Painter's Box. Probably United States ca. 1790s. Mahogany with brass fittings. Miniature Portrait Painter’s Box. Probably United States ca. 1790s. Mahogany with brass fittings.

This late eighteenth century artist’s box is like a portable portrait studio. It’s believed to have belonged to an unknown American traveling artist and contains all the tools and materials they would need to paint portrait miniatures on ivory with either powdered color or watercolor. I came upon this treasure when I went to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of portrait miniatures. It’s an area of the museum that isn’t very big, but I could spend a great deal of time there simply admiring the faces of the past.

Miniature Portrait Painter's Box

Inside this artist’s box are two palettes, one in ivory and one in porcelain. There are gums for binding pigments or glazing, and brushes that have quill ferrules and bone handles. Also housed within the drawers are slivers of ivory cut into ovals and squares, pieces…

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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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5 Responses to What’s Inside the Traveling Studio of an 18th Century Miniature Portrait Artist?

  1. susanissima says:

    Love this. So quaint and wonderful! I’m a box lover and I adore this one and how it’s organized. Also, what a wonderful blog Laurie Benson has created.

    Like

  2. Sammy D. says:

    Thanks for re-blogging this, Katie. I’ve been a longtime fan and collector of antique boxes and tins ( altho downsizing now means a few pieces with memories of those I’ve passed on). It was interesting to see the utility of yet another beautiful box with it’s lustrous wood sheen and mystique drawers. Quite more satisfying than visiting the Container Store 😋

    Like

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