pleasures. You see at her feet a porridge pot that is spilled out. That represents a loss, often represented in these allegorical images by a broken water jug or spilled milk or porridge, and is iconographical for the loss of a girl's virginity, which can never be regained or made whole again. A superb painting. The detail is beyond remarkable in this - consider that each face is less than .25" in overall height. A must have painting for any serious collector, or for doll house collections of art. Frame is original, brass, with glass fully intact. No loss to painting, other than the one crack you see to right (visible, and mentioned below). This is a very rare one, indeed.
Excellent to very good condition for age and type. Painting is done in gouache or watercolor. You can see a little crack/loss to the outer portion of the panel upon which it is painted, to the far right beyond the figure of the young girl. Otherwise an excellent preserved and remarkable miniature, indeed. Original frame and cover glass intact. I could not easily open this to scan so san is done through the glass, and is not as fine as we'd have liked.
About portrait miniatures and miniature paintings: There are two types of miniature portrait or painting. Prior to the invention of photography (1838's Daguerreotype), the only way to preserve a likeness was to sit for an artist's original portrait, or to have your likeness carved in wax, wood, or sometimes terra cotta or ivory. The miniature portrait industry was one mostly reserved for the well-to- do, though lesser sketches in pastel, conte crayon, charcoal, or pencil also survive on a more common level - usually done by a family member. These survive as masterpieces in miniature, quite often, and a one of a kind treasure. So there are the ones that are not made as souvenirs of famous paintings and portraits (often noted as 'apres' or after the work of such-and-such artist, and often recognized and reproduced in numbers for tourist trade of 18th - 19th century), Those are personal, usually far more delicately detailed, and represent original works of art that are collected, sometimes signed by the artists who practiced portraiture in miniature. They might be the only image a parent would have after the marriage of their daughter, whose marriage took her far from home. Or the image given to a betrothed, or as political offering or to show a prospective spouse in another country just whom he or she was proposed to by family/political union. They are history in testate and should survive for hundreds of years to come, the only remainder of a person's lifetime, in many cases. These fascinate me. I'm going to list quite a few, and this description will suffice for all - as to the origins and importance of the works.