In the Magazine Antiques, April 2009 issue, there is an excellent article by Elle Shushan, Portrait Miniatures in the New Republic. Portrait miniatures are very small paintings on ivory, vellum, or porcelain. They are usually oval or rectilinear in shape and are small enough to fit in one’s pocket. In the 18th and 19th centuries, before photography (after 1838), these little gems were what lovers carried around to remind themselves of their sweethearts or what a mother might have in her locket to remember a son gone to war, to sea, or to the New World.
Portrait miniatures is a category of antiques/art that is actually appreciating in the current fetid economy. Why? Largely because of scholarly articles like Shushan’s and savvy marketing by a handful of upper level dealers. Google “Elle Shushan”. Find out more about Cher’s former agent.