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Part of The American Wing
Eliza Goodridge (1798–1882)
Date: ca. 1830–35Accession Number: 29.74
Henry Inman (American, Utica, New York 1801–1846 New York)
Date: ca. 1827Accession Number: 2003.520
John Townsend (1732–1809)
Date: ca. 1795Accession Number: 1980.293
John Ramage (Ireland ca. 1748–1802 Montreal)
Date: ca. 1785Accession Number: 59.122
John Carlin (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1813–1891 New York)
Date: 1846Accession Number: 1979.188
Charles Cromwell Ingham (American (born Ireland), Dublin 1786–1863 New York)
Date: 1844Accession Number: 2006.235.90
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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 Originally made to be worn or carried, each is inextricably tied to its function as memento, love token, or reliquary.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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