This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
By Dr. George Williamson, Litt.D.
IN nearly all the graphic arts, choicest examples are to be seen at public galleries, accessible to everybody, and their study is made easy by means of numerous excellent text-books, very moderate in price. It is different with regard to the art of the miniature painter. The great care necessarv for the preservation of his delicate work, especially in protecting it from undue exposure to the light, has made it impracticable, under ordinary conditions, to study valuable originals in public collections, and, of course, access to the cabinets of private owners is a very exceptional privilege. Under these circumstances every student of miniatures was delighted when, in 1887, Mr. J. Lumsden Propert's sumptuously printed and lavishly illustrated "History of Miniature Painting" appeared; but it was a costly publication, issued by subscription, and it almost immediately went out of print. Similar circumstances attended the issue, by the Burlington Fine Arts Club, of a similar volume, illustrating a very notable exhibition held at its rooms. Both works are now scarce. In 1895, Dr. George Williamson catalogued and arranged for exhibition the largest collection ever brought together of miniatures by Richard and Maria Cosway, and Andrew and Nathaniel Plimer, and soon afterwards Messrs. George Bell & Sons published, in two sumptuously illustrated volumes, his "History of Miniature Painting," justly described
"The Three Graces." By Andrew Plimer.
From "How to Identify Portrait Miniatures." By Dr. Geo. Williamson. Litu.D. (Courtesy of Messrs. George Bell & Sons, Publishers.) as "the most comprehensive and authoritative that has ever been written on the subject." The price was 10 guineas, and there was an edition de luxe at 50 guineas. But few copies, we believe, remain of this, or of the companion work, "Andrew and Nathaniel Plimer," similar editions of which were issued, and also an edition at 4 guineas. Through the same publishers were issued Dr. Williamson's "George Engleheart," in three editions, ranging in price from 12 guineas to 25s.; his "Richard Cosway, R.A.," and "Portrait Miniatures," each in two editions. Notwithstanding their prices, all three works were soon out of print. But as yet no text-book about miniatures had appeared, to furnish information to the average
Oliver Cromwell reader. The omission has at last been rectified. In "How to Identify Portrait Miniatures" Dr. Williamson and his publishers have produced a beautiful and handy volume on the subject at a popular price - less than half that of the small paper edition of "Portrait Miniatures" (which was 12S. 6d. net). It may be said, in a way, to take the place of the latter as a handbook for collectors, and it gives, in addition, some interesting practical chapters, by Mr. Alyn Williams, on the painting of miniatures. These we shall notice, later, at greater length than is possible in this article. For the present, we content ourselves with quoting from them a single paragraph, concerning which, however, we must remark that, in our opinion, the artist undertakes, in a far too dogmatic way, to dispose of a question of technique concerning which there is much to he urged from a point of view contrary to his own. He says: -
Miniature By Samuel Cooper