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Historical documents and observation reveal the lost skill of painting miniatures.
Fine animal skin was stuck to a playing card.
The back was rubbed hard with an animal tooth to ensure a smooth surface.
Pigments were mixed with water and gum.
The flesh colour, known as the carnation, was applied.
The facial features were outlined with a fine brush.
Any excess carnation was removed.
Tiny brushstrokes added shape to the face.
A special technique was used to paint the distinctive blue background.
A watery wash was followed by thicker paint.
This gave a very smooth solid colour.
Details of the costume were finely painted.
An inscription was sometimes added.
After they were painted, miniatures were normally cut into an oval shape.
This miniature shows Elizabeth I wearing elaborate jewels, such as rubies.
Creating rubies was a delicate process.
A hot needle was used to apply a layer of resin over silver.
The silver reflected light through the red resin.
A jewelled and enamelled locket was made for the Elizabeth I miniature.
1 DAY DIGITAL WORKSHOP: Work with professional artist Nadja Ryzhakova to explore the creative possibilities of the iPad.
A fascinating account of the development of English miniature painting featuring masterpieces from the V&A's collection, which contains some of th…
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