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"Surrounded with Brilliants": Miniature Portraits in Eighteenth-Century England

Marcia Pointon
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 83, No. 1 (Mar., 2001), pp. 48-71
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3177190
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3177190
Page Count: 24
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"Surrounded with Brilliants": Miniature Portraits in Eighteenth-Century England
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Abstract

This essay considers the relation between miniature portraits and the artifacts (such as snuffboxes and jewelery) in which they were commonly incorporated in England in the eighteenth century. Taking into account issues of material culture, court ritual and protocol, and questions of the performative human body within historically specific social and political environments, I argue for a holistic approach to the phenomenon of the portrait-object as a way of opening up avenues toward a better historical understanding of portraiture's functions and of the interactive relationship among imagery, three-dimensional objects, and the gendered body in early modern visual culture.

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