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Portrait Miniatures

Scottish artists were instrumental in the development of the portrait miniature in the nineteenth century, bringing technical innovation and distinctly Scottish stylistic traits of freshness and naturalism to the art form.

Princess Alice by Sir William Ross

Princess Alice by Sir William Ross ©

Andrew Robertson trained in Edinburgh under Alexander Nasmyth and Sir Henry Raeburn before moving to London in 1801. He challenged the very premise of miniature painting, using large-scale, rectangular ivory plaques as supports to bring the art form closer to oil painting in scale and technique, and raising the status of miniature painting in the process.

Kenneth MacLeay was one of the last successful miniature painters of the nineteenth century. His career suffered as a result of the rival art form of photography, but was revived after his work came to the attention of Queen Victoria in 1864.