How was it made? Portrait miniatures

The V&A holds the national collection of British portrait miniatures - a unique watercolour art form which developed during the reign of Henry VIII. Miniatures were popular as portable images of loved ones until the the rise of photography in the mid 19th century. The collection contains over 2000 portrait miniatures from both Britain and Europe.

Watch how portrait miniatures would have been made – from the mixing of pigments, to the delicate imitation of jewels.

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See more 'How was it made?' films on our YouTube channel.

Header image:

An Unknown Woman, aged 26, portrait miniature, by Nicholas Hilliard, 1593, England. Museum no. P.8-1945. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London