Beyer, Johann Daniel - portrait of Louis Dietz

Although not an outstanding artist, this miniature is by Johann Daniel Beyer and is signed on the upper left, 'Beyer f(ecit) 1809' There may be another letter after the 1809, but if so, it is difficult to read. He is also referred to as Jean-Daniel Beyer and is believed to have been born in 1785 and died in 1846.

Schidlof comments of Beyer;
Born in Alsace. Miniaturist and lithographer, pupil of Urbain Jean Guerin. He worked in Strasbourg from about 1820 to 1840 and did portraits of numerous personalities of that town. Average artist, whose works, executed in a fine "pointille", easily become hard and lack colour.

In her dictionary Natalie Lemoine-Bouchard located an earlier example by him signed 'Beyer f 1810'. Thus this example being dated 1809 seems, at present, to be the earliest known miniature by Beyer.

This miniature cost GBP 80, but later works by him have sold for higher prices. In 2008, Bonhams sold a miniature of a young lady named Anna Geither and dated 1839, for GBP 720. Pretty ladies always sell for more than young men!

On arrival here the glass over the miniature was very dirty and although a signature could be seen it was unreadable.The back was covered with pasted down paper, so it was a little difficult to decide whether to cut through the paper to remove the internal dust, clean the glass, and determine the signature.

Thus three images were taken of the reverse before opening it. Some of the writing was also unreadable, but here are enhanced images of the three sections. Although it was not as obvious before reading the signature, it was found that the top section includes the 'Bayer 1809', presumably an earlier reading of the signature of the artist.
The upper and  and lower inscriptions are too hard to read but refer to Dietz and appear to support the main inscription which seems to read;
Granpapa Louis Dietz de Reibeauville (Ribeauville) epouse de Sophie Laemermann .... Strasbourg. 

Ribeauville is a small town with a population of around 5000 people and about 70 kilometres south of Strasbourg. Given the date of 1809 and his apparent age, suggests Louis Deitz was born in 1788, with the miniature celebrating his 21st birthday. So far, it has not been possible to identify the family any closer, but any interested genealogist is welcome to leave relevant comments if they are able to identify the family. 1477


Unknown - portrait of a lady from Naples

Although the painting style of the face of this unknown Italian lady from Naples is somewhat naive, the detail of her dress and the skill of the artist in painting the lace detail is outstanding.

The overall miniature is quite large at 130mm x 100mm so the skill needed to paint the individual lace threads is hard to comprehend.

It is comparable with a similar miniature portrait of another Italian lady elsewhere in this Gallery, see View

Frustratingly, the miniature is signed as shown in the two enhanced images below, but it has not been possible to read the signature.

It may read P. Napoli 1852, but the artist's name is far from certain.

Thus any help in identifying the artist would be very gratefully received. The red pigment used by the artist for her dress was not properly prepared and hence it has dried unevenly with resultant minor paint cracking and paint loss in several areas. 1448


Unknown - portrait of Antonio Canova

The artist for this portrait is unknown and to date, no previous portrait of Canova in this pose has been located, hence it may well be an original miniature portrait.

Antonio Canova (1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822) was an Italian sculptor from the Republic of Venice who became famous for his marble sculptures that delicately rendered nude flesh. The epitome of the neoclassical style, his work marked a return to classical refinement after the theatrical excesses of Baroque sculpture.

In 1815 he was commissioned by the Pope to superintend the return from Paris of those works of art which had formerly been conveyed thither under the direction of Napoleon. In the autumn of 1815 he gratified a wish he had long entertained of visiting London, where he received the highest tokens of esteem.

It has been suggested that the artist for whom he showed particular sympathy and regard in London was Benjamin Haydon, who might at the time be counted the sole representative of historical painting there, and whom he especially honored for his championship of the then recently transported to England and ignorantly depreciated by polite connoisseurs Parthenon's marbles. It is said, the Elgin marbles - after a recommendation by Canova - were acquired by the British Museum, while plaster copies were sent to Florence, Italy, according to Canova's request.

Among Canova's English pupils were sculptors Sir Richard Westmacott and John Gibson. A miniature of Canova by Henry Bone was painted in 1821 as an enamel copy of the original by John Jackson. In June 2009 Sotheby's sold the Canova portrait by Bone for £23,750. Although a little larger, (243mm x 195mm), it forms a striking pair with an enamel portrait of Sir Anthony Carlisle FRS and later PRCS, (205mm x 170mm) also by Henry Bone which is in this collection, see View

While in London, Canova attended several lectures by Carlisle who was then Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Academy (1808-1824). Although the lectures of Carlisle were hugely popular, he was much maligned by Haydon for teaching the beauty of human form based upon live models and discussing Greek sculpture, rather than teaching the underlying human muscle structure from dissected cadavers, as had been the practice of the two previous Professors of Anatomy at the RA, William Hunter and John Sheldon. A factor that disinclined Carlisle to teach from dissected cadavers, was the experience of his immediate predecessor, Sheldon, who had the unfortunate experience of realising that a subject delivered to him for dissection was in fact the resurrected body of his own sister, who had died several days previously.

The credit granted to Haydon by some scholars in respect of the acquisition of the Elgin Marbles, would be better directed towards Carlisle, and Carlisle's father-in-law, John Symmons, who was prominent in society and had seconded Lord Elgin's second attempt to join the Dilettanti. Although it was not until Elgin's third nomination in 1811, that his nomination to membership was successful. Carlisle and Symmons were far more influential in London society than Haydon, whose style of painting was then out of fashion.

Other portraits of Canova painted during his 1815 visit to London were by George Hayter and Thomas Lawrence.

Canova returned to Rome in the beginning of 1816, with the ransomed spoils of his country's genius. Immediately after, he received several marks of distinction: he was made President of the Accademia di San Luca, the main artistic institution in Rome, and by the hand of the Pope himself his name was inscribed in "the Golden Volume of the Capitol", and he received the title of Marquis of Ischia, with an annual pension of 3000 crowns. 1460


Massard, J - portrait of young lady

This miniature portrait of a young lady is signed indistinctly, but the name appears to be J Massard. Unusually, it is fully dated 18 August 1831.

She is wearing mutton-chop sleeves and the precise date is a valuable guide to clothing and hair styles fashionable in France in 1831.

Nathalie Lemoine-Bouchard lists;
MASSARD Jean Marie Raphaël Léopold (Crouy-sur-Ourcq, 29 janvier 1812 – Paris, 13 mars 1889), but no miniatures by him are known for comparison.

In 1831 he would have been aged 19, so it is possible it is an early work by him, but the precise date of the signature here (day and year) tends to indicate an amateur artist.

Therefore it has been suggested it would be preferable at this stage to list this miniature as a previously unrecorded French artist;
J. Massard, active in 1831, that is separate from the first one. 1429

Gautaloz - A French Family

These three miniature portraits are believed to be of the same family, although they are unidentified.

Only one of the portraits is signed by the artist, that of the girl, and so far, it has not been possible to firmly attribute the name. The inscription appears to read "Fait par Gautaloz 1822" for 'made by' an artist with a name similar to Gautaloz or Gantaloz. However, those names do not appear in reference books such as Blattel. Hence, it is either a different name, or the portraits are the work of a previously unrecorded artist.

There is quite a family likeness between the mother and daughter, and as the pose is also so similar, it is believed all three portraits were painted by the same artist.

Both mother and daughter are wearing red coral necklaces, and the daughter appears to have a red coral comb in her hair. At this time coral was believed to ward off illness, which is a major reason for so many females to be seen with coral jewellery in portrait miniatures of this period. 1430, 1431, 1432


Lafontaine-Saran, Marceline Emilie - self portrait

Self-portraits always seem special and this miniature self-portrait on enamel by Marceline Emilie Lafontaine-Saran is no exception.

There are several self-portraits in this collection, but this is the only one painted in enamel. Painting in enamel is an especially demanding technique, as the colours need to be applied separately and they change colour during the process of firing in a kiln.

It is signed Emilie Lafontaine 1885 on the front when she would have been 46 years old. The reverse is inscribed in French, but translates into English as, "Portrait of Mme Emilie Compant-Lafontaine, nee Saran pinx".

Emilie was born in Geneva on 23 March 1839 and died there on 25 October 1892. Schidlof records that she painted on enamel and that a miniature portrait by her, of her husband, Leonard Francois Compant-Lafontaine is in the Geneva Library. It sounds as if that was painted in 1872 and is therefore a companion portrait to the one of her as depicted here. And that of her husband was perhaps one of those exhibited by her at shows in 1874, 1878, and 1883.

Separate references state that she married him in 1870, describing him as a "magnetiseur" which translates as magnetiser, mesmerist, or hypnotist. See;

Geneva (Switzerland). Musée d'art et d'histoire, Société auxiliare du Musée de Genéve, Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève - 1936 -
Charles-L.-F. Compant-Lafontaine, auteur d'ouvrages sur le magnétisme, décédé en 1892. — Peint sur émail par M7"" Compant-Lafontaine née Saran en 1872, donné par elle en 1894. Env. 5,5 x 7,5 (ovale).

So far no reference to her husband as a hypnotist has been located. 1433


Muller, Johann-Jakob - portraits of a man and a lady

This pair of miniature portraits were acquired in late 2010 for a very modest sum, but have been sitting neglected on my desk. At first glance they are not very attractive, (perhaps also at second glance!) but are still an interesting pair.

Regrettably my knowledge of French and German is virtually non-existent, which is the main reason they have not been listed previously. They each have an inscription on the reverse, which is much more recent, as the backing appears to be from an old envelope with a postmark for Basle 29 November, 1944.

While I am not fully confident, I think they are by a well-regarded Swiss artist Johann-Jakob Muller (1762-1817). There is an extensive article about him (in French), by Vincent Lieber, in "100 Ans de Miniatures Suisses - 1780-1880). The article includes nearly 20 examples by Muller and they seem to be very similar in style to this pair.

It seems that most, if not all of his miniatures are on paper, a sign that he drew portraits of middle class citizens, rather than the wealthy. Thus, although not having the brilliance of ivory, these miniatures do show why there was such a preference for ivory as the base. The colours of these have faded, but there is good detail.

I have not taken them out of their frames, as I do not want to damage the inscriptions, so the images are not very good. In addition, the glasses show the pitting associated with rotting of the actual glass, due to a manufacturing deficiency, which does tend to affect a number of miniatures from the early 19C.

The inscriptions say that they are two small oval portraits from the estate of Hermann Burckhardt 18??-1942, maybe? his grandparents. The father of Hermann Burckhardt was Emanuel Burckhardt (I. Le Roche, II. Wilhelm) 1820-1892. Judging by the dates and the apparent age (about 50 years?) of the sitters, it therefore seems possible that the sitters are the parents, or even grandparents, of Emanuel Burckhardt. 1403a, 1403b.

In the IGI reference to Le Roche is revealed as the name of Emanuel's first wife, Margaretha Charlotte LaRoche (1825-1857), who he married in 1847, with his occupation between 1847 and 1892 recorded as "Aristorf Pastor", perhaps meaning he was a personal chaplain to an aristocratic family? Margaretha's parents being Simon Emanuel LaRoche, a pastor, and Anna Catharina Bernoulli. His second wife was thus named ... Wilhelm, but her first name has not yet been located.

Possibly related was a noted German ethnographer, Hermann Burckhardt, with a good knowledge of Arabic and Turkish, who in 1907 traveled to Yemen and submitted a detailed political report on the situation to Dr Moritz, the German director of the khedival library in Cairo. One of his recommendations was construct a railway line to help maintain Ottoman authority in Yemen.

Although not yet linked, it is possible that the Hermann Burckhardt who died in 1942, was the father of the Hermann Burckhardt who was involved in the design and construction of German battleships and battlecruisers of the World War II era.


Artist "J T A" - portrait of Crown Prince Willhelm of Germany

This miniature portrait is quite large for a miniature on ivory, being 98mm x 144mm.

Unfortunately, at present the artist is identified only as "J T A 1914" or perhaps "T A 1914". It is hoped a kind visitor may be able to identify the artist.

However, the sitter can be identified by his uniform and comparison with other similar images.

For example the photograph is circa 1912, and is of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia (1882 - 1951) as a Lieutenant in the Prussian Guard Regiment. He was the son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the leader of Germany during World War I and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

The similarity of uniform is apparent, although the miniature shows the Crown Prince as a higher rank and must have been painted around the outbreak of World War I. It is quite possible the miniature was painted to mark his naming as Commander of the 5th Army in August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. Thus his rise from Lieutenant in just two years was rapid!

He led the 5th Army until November 1916, a two-year period which included the battle of attrition known as the Verdun Offensive. From April 1916 onward he tried in vain to convince the supreme command that the Verdun offensive no longer made any sense, but the campaign continued until September 2nd of that year.

During World War I he was belittled as the "Clown Prince" by the British soldiers; that nickname was adopted by the American forces in 1917.

A most unusual feature of the miniature can be seen in the close up of his hand, where the Crown Prince is holding a cigarette. In current day terms, this is a most odd combination of casual and formal in a portrait, but must have been acceptable in 1914.

One of the decorations he is wearing is the Order of the Black Eagle, the highest order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Prussia

Frederick William Victor Augustus Ernest (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst) (6 May 1882 – 20 July 1951) of the House of Hohenzollern was the last Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire. He was colloquially known as William or Wilhelm.

After the outbreak of the German Revolution in 1918, both Emperor William II and the Crown Prince signed the document of abdication. The Crown Prince went into exile to the isle of Wieringen, in the Netherlands.

In 1923, he returned to Germany after giving assurances that he would no longer engage in politics. The former Crown Prince held some political ambitions, and was reportedly interested in the idea of running for Reichspräsident as the right-wing candidate opposed to Paul von Hindenburg in 1932, until his father forbade the idea.

The Crown Prince supported Hitler for some time, hoping and announcing in public that this man would do for Germany what Mussolini had done for Italy - making an end to all Bolshevist/Marxist influence. He had connections with some organizations, more than loosely connected with the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) and allowed himself to be used by the Nazi government in various symbolic actions.[citation needed]. After the murder of his friend, the former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher in the Night of the Long Knives (1934), he retreated from all political activities. Most of his efforts from 1919 until 1934 had been directed to make a return of the Hohenzollerns to the throne viable option again, and he had assumed that Hitler would give this idea his support.

William lived as a private citizen on his family's estates throughout World War II. Upon his father's death in 1941, William succeeded him as head of the House of Hohenzollern, the former German imperial dynasty. In 1951, the former Crown Prince died of a heart attack in Hechingen, in the ancestral lands of his family in Swabia, as the family's estates in Brandenburg had been occupied by the Soviet Union.

William married Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (20 September 1886 - 6 May 1954) in Berlin on 6 June 1905. Cecilie was the daughter of Grand Duke Frederick Francis III of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1851-1897) and his wife, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia (1860-1922). However during the early stages of this marriage the crown prince had a brief affair with the American opera singer Geraldine Farrar.

Their eldest son, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, was killed fighting for the German Army in France in 1940.

The Crown Prince and his wife are buried at Hohenzollern Castle. 1356

Coincidentally, in 1910, the Crown Prince is recorded as having played tennis with the British brother of a new addition to this collection, see Unknown - portrait of Fanny Goschen


Unknown - portrait of a Italian family

This miniature is unsigned. Initially it was thought to be French or perhaps Spanish in style and probably painted around 1820. However, it is now thought to be Italian.

The frame is not shown here, but is perhaps the most expensive wooden frame in the collection. It is extremely well made of veneered and inlaid rosewood. The veneering even covers the complete rear of the portrait. At each corner of the rear, there are "butterfly" dowels to hold it together.

As the portrait is of five family members it would have been expensive when it was painted. Miniature painters often doubled their standard price when there were two sitters in a portrait, and here we have five.

The girl on the left is holding a string tied to a butterfly, which can be seen silhouetted against the baby's collar.

More recently, I have become aware that there is a miniature shown here and painted by the Italian artist Giambattista Gigola in 1807, which is in the collection of the Museo Poldi Pezzoli of Milan, Italy.

The pose and style is completely different, so there is no real similarity, except that miniature also features four children, one of who is also holding a butterfly on a string. Later copies of the Gigola miniature show the butterfly replaced by a string of pearls, so it seems there may have been a reaction against the practice.

Nevertheless, these are the only instances I am aware of where a child has a butterfly on a string and hence that makes them unusual. Thus it seems probable the miniature shown here is Italian in origin, rather than French or Spanish. 1182

Unknown - portrait of King Albert of Saxony

Although the artist is unknown, the portrait was initially thought to be of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria (1830-1916).

For more about him see Franz Joseph I of Austria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 1165

However, from the comments below, left by kind visitors, it is now suspected to be King Albert of Saxony (1828-1902) who reigned from 1873-1902 and is shown here in several different images.

Albert, was born April 23, 1828. Prince Albert's education, as usual with German princes, concentrated to a great extent on military matters, but he attended lectures at the University of Bonn.

King Albert was noted for his military ability. At the age of 21, he served as a captain in the army of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in their war against the Danes.

In 1866, during the Seven Weeks' War between Austria and Prussia, Albert commanded a Saxon corps, which distinguished itself at the decisive Battle of Königgrätz by a firm stand against the Prussia

Although even then, it is conceded the man in the miniature does not seem to have enough medals, and it is probable many officers of the time adopted a similar appearance!

Karmanski, Ignaz - portrait of a lady

This miniature portrait is signed in gold letters "Ig Karmanski 1831" for Ignaz von Karmanski an Austrian artist who was active in Vienna 1830-1832. He was trained at the Vienna Academy.

Schidlof was obvioulsy not impressed with his work as he comments "Rather mediocre artist"!

The sitter is unknown. 1164


Bouchardy - portrait of a man

This miniature portrait is signed "Bouchardy", probably for the artist of that name who was active in Paris from 1770-1799. He was noted at the time for his use of the physionotrace, see Precursors of photography: Early Visual Media - Physionotrace ... He may have also been the father of the better known artist Etienne Bouchardy (1797-1849).
The sitter is unknown, but it is interesting that he was demonstrating his loyalty to the revolution by wearing a tricolor neck scarf.
Elsewhere in the collection there is a miniature portrait by Marie Noireterre of a man wearing a similar tricolor scarf which was painted around the same time. 1145


Bourgeois, Charles - portrait of young man

Painted in 1801 is this miniature portrait signed "C Bourgeios an 9", for Charles Guillaume Alexandre Bourgeois (1759-1832).

The wording "an 9" refers to year 9 of the Revolutionary Calendar that was used in France from 1793 to 1804. Thus this miniature was painted in 1801.

There are several miniatures in this style by Bourgeois in the Louvre.

For more about him see Charles Guillaume Alexandre Bourgeois - Wikipedia, the free ...

Literature" Les Peintres en Miniature p119. 1154