Pair of Late 1800s Miniature Portraits – Photographs with Painting

We fell in love with this couple and their earnest, bright eyed gaze. After much examination, we have concluded that these two portraits began as photographs, and were then embellished with a hand painted background and other details. We've done some research, and apparently there was a period of time during the second half of the 1800s when photography studios actually hired professional artists to make photographed portraits look more like paintings. This allowed people who couldn't afford to pay for an actual painted miniature to have portraits that appeared hand painted. It also saved on sitting time!

These are portraits of a young couple, possibly from their very early days together. There are initials painted right above the man's left shoulder (right when looking at him), that appear to be V.O. There are no signatures on the lady's picture, although the two definitely belong together. They are mounted in black wooden frames with brass rims and a grape leaf decoration that holds the hanging ring on top. A parchment like paper is glued to the back.

Measurements are 4 1/2" by 3 1/2". Condition is very good. The brass rims have a nice patina, but have no corrosion. The grape leaf decorations on top were at one time painted gold; some of that gold has worn off. The wood frames are also in great condition, with no cracks, chips or significant scratches.

This is a wonderful pair of miniature portraits. They offer a glimpse into history, and unlike many of the painted miniatures that we see, these are pictures of a real couple who had hopes and dreams for their future.

Item ID: 0828

$265 USD

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Philip Lepley and Barbara Bureker, Battle Ground, WA   

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