This March, art consultant and portrait miniature specialist Emma Rutherford is curating and exhibiting a collection of Edwardian portrait miniatures from 1870 to 1970, from private collections. The exhibition is set to coincide with the release of a book written by Roger and Carmela Arturi Phillips, A Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870 -1970, at the leading Old Master gallery Philip Mould & Co
, 29 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NA.
Portrait miniatures, after experiencing a dip in popularity upon the invention of photography, enjoyed a revival in the early 20th century, and this exhibition aims to reflect this well known era through the lens of the artist, and the social legacy of miniatures. The exhibition showcases the best of the elegant Edwardian society portrait miniature through to more contemporary examples reliant upon both photography and sittings.
The collection contains miniatures by many great practitioners, including artists Charles James Turrell and Gertrude Massey, both of whom are represented in the Royal Collection.
Works by Turrell include a painting of Princess Alexandra in Court dress, dated 1886. Another highlight pays homage to a champion boxer, dated 1907, as well as a portrait of a music hall star by Miss May Hartog (in hat below).
Curator Emma Rutherford states This is the first time an exhibition of portrait miniatures has been devoted to this period.. Later miniatures, particularly those from the Edwardian period, have increased in value almost fourfold over the past ten years, with their particular aesthetic appealing to a wider audience. A book devoted to this neglected period is long overdue and I am sure will be a great academic resource as well as a thing of beauty.
A Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870 -1970, written by the collectors, is priced at £65, and lists over 2300 miniature painters working during this period, with sections focusing on the Revival around the turn of the 20th Century, the art of the Photominiature, and an appendix of signatures and monograms . It is set to be the most informative and detailed publication of its kind on Edwardian miniatures, and will be available to purchase at the gallery, bookstores, and www.amazon.co.uk.
Emma Rutherford is a freelance art historian specialising in portrait miniatures and silhouettes. She set up the Portrait Miniature Department at Phillips Auctioneers. After the amalgamation of Phillips and Bonhams she became Departmental Director. During her time in the auction world, she sourced and handled the Albion Collection, the highest grossing collection of portrait miniatures ever to come to come to the market. She has also curated the family collection of portrait miniatures, entitled Heirs and Graces, at Harewood House in Yorkshire.
Emma has recently completed her first book, entitled Silhouette; the Art of the Shadow, which is now available from bookstores. Emma recently curated the Secret Faces exhibition at Philip Mould & Co, an important exhibition of rarely seen portrait miniatures from public and private collections.