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 particularly popular during the reign of Queen Victoria, before the rise of photography. The collection contains over 2000 portrait miniatures, including examples from around the world.

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

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

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