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Product 56/83

Mother & Child 18th Century Miniature Oil Painting


Antique Oil Portrait Painting 
Mother & Child
18th Century Miniature Oil Painting 
Continental (French)
Circa: 1750-1780



Search Ebay, Google and online art galleries and you will most likely conclude this is one of the most extraordinary miniature oil paintings you will ever encounter, for a number of reasons. First it in exceptionally nice condition, particularly for an original 18th Century painting. No cracks, craquelures, or damage of any kind. It has been well preserved, which we suspect is due to it being in the original period frame along with protection from sunlight for the past 230 years.

* See enlargeable images above and below

Subject History:
The subject matter is a mother and child, Continental (French, etc). In addition to 18th century clothing, the baby is also holding a sterling baby rattle with bells. This style of rattle dates to the mid 18th Century. Baby's rattle Silver, coral London, around 1750.   

This was an expensive all-in-one entertainment and health kit for a baby. The whistle and rattle offered the chance to make a lot of noise while the coral was cool against the child’s gums when teething and acted as an amulet to ward away evil spirits. In 1706 the Countess of Lauderdale bought 'a silver gumstick with bells and a piece of fine coral' for £1. We have included a similar rattle image here.

Painting is on a circular very thin shell like material about 3-4" in diameter.   Possibly a paper thin piece of ivory, however it hard to imagine how a piece of ivory could be sanded down to the size of thin paper without fracturing.  The painted material is very thin and delicate and has apparently been housed in the same period frame for the past 275 years! 
This is most likely why it has been protected and preserved so well. 

The back of the frame has the monogram initials  (believe “FJB”) from hair mixed with glue rather then ink (another artist trait from the 17th/18th century).

The frame is most likely the original frame the piece has lived in for the past 250-275 years. Note the front of the frame with an 18th Century decorative style. With origins in ancient Greece and Rome, this is a fanlike decorative motif resembling the honeysuckle leaf and flower. It was used as a repeated motif for banding on Neoclassical friezes and cornices toward the mid-end of the 18th century. We contacted an antique frame dealer and he statest the frame alone is quite rare and valuable.  Frame back is fragile and was at one time removed.  

The beauty and appeal of this amazing piece is evident. Please refer to images we have provided.

Size: Without frame, 3.5x3.75”. Frame 9.5x9.5”