I love portrait miniatures and have collected English 18th century works for over 30 years. Unfortunately, the prices of miniatures have skyrocketed in recent years and they are almost prohibitive to buy now. I also love to wear my miniatures, as they were intended, as intimate objects of love and sometimes remembrance, memento mori. But this too is infeasible, they are often large and so is the risk of loss or damage. So I started having copies made of my miniatures in pendant form. They were carefully reproduced using museum methods on antique card stock with luster and striations similar to ivory.
This is a John Smart preparatory sketch of Colonel James Hamilton (1746 - 1804); he became an officer of the Coldstream Guards on the 24th August 1762 and retired in 1781 with the rank of Colonel In 1767 he married Lucy Lloyd, the widow of Sir John Fytche-Barker, 7th Baronet. He died at Holyrood house in Edinburgh in 1804 at the age of fifty-eight.
John Smart (c. 1740–1811), was an English painter of portrait miniatures. Today he is acknowledged as one of the finest miniaturists of the 18th century and his miniatures and preparatory sketches command hefty sums, some as high as $100,000. He was a contemporary of Richard Cosway, George Engleheart, William Wood and Richard Crosse. In 1755, at only 14, he was runner up to Richard Cosway in a drawing competition for under-14s held by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. He exhibited at the Society of Artists, in London, from 1762 onwards; and became its president in 1778. He went to India in 1788 and obtained a number of commissions in that country. He settled down in London in 1797, and died there in 1811.
The miniature is approx. 1.5 inches north to south and 1.2 inches west to east. It is made of a gold colored gilt metal with the miniature set under domed glass. Because of the convex curvature of the glass it is very difficult to photograph. It is a great size for a pendant and looks wonderful on a ribbon around the neck. It does not come with the antique box but will come with a gift box.
This is not an original portrait miniature but a jewelry copy and it is not ivory but 19th century card stock. However, when placed side by side with a PM original it is almost indistinguishable.