A category that has long attracted curiosity and intrigue, Portrait Miniatures first emerged in the 15th century and served as political gifts and tokens of love. In 1830 King George IV was buried wearing a miniature of his secret and illegal wife, his beloved Maria Fitzherbert, and, in 2017, Maria's corresponding portrait of the king as a young man dressed in armour sold at Christie's for £341,000.
Christie's has a long track record of selling Portrait Miniatures from the collection of the American banker John Pierpont Morgan in 1935 to, the sale of the collection of the late Mrs T.S. Eliot in 2013 which featured a portrait miniature by the novelist and poet, Charlotte Brontë. In 2018 we achieved several record-breaking prices for the treasured portrait miniatures of the late Swiss collector, Ernst Holzscheiter.
Our sales feature Portrait Miniatures by the leading European artists from Elizabethan Britain, the Bourbon dynasty, the Romanov empire and the Napoleonic period. Artists include Nicholas Hilliard, Isaac Oliver, Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin, Jean-Etienne Liotard, Augustin Christian Ritt and many others who have captured the iconography of history's protagonists.