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Mourning Miniature for E. W.

ca. 1800 Unidentified watercolor on ivory sight 2 1/8 x 1 3/4 in. (5.4 x 4.3 cm) oval Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Rene Muller 1980.95.3 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Miniature paintings memorializing a friend or family member grew popular in the nineteenth century when the death of Prince Albert sent Queen Victoria into deep mourning. A name and death date on a locket, pin, or ring marked the passing of a loved one, and artists sometimes mixed a lock of the deceased person’s hair in with the pigment. The paintings often showed the bereaved person next to a tomb or cinerary urn, as in Mourning Locket for A. R. and Mourning Ring, and sometimes included symbols of grieving such as a dove or weeping willow.


Animal - sheep

Architecture Exterior - domestic - house

Figure female - full length

Landscape - water

State of being - emotion - sorrow

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor