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Portrait miniature of young noblewoman

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BelleEpoque's loves281 of 710Handmade enameled Persian pin brooch (Quajar Dynasty) set in Silver Fruit tree brooch.
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Posted 3 years ago

(103 items)

To me, this is an extremely poignant portrait miniature.

European, possibly Spanish, and circa 1560, she looks quite young, probably in her early teens. Girls from noble families were usually political pawns, married to someone who could bring power or wealth to a family. This is most likely either a betrothal portrait or a "shopping" portrait, sent to a potential suitor. She is dressed in a formal gown and jewels.

The portrait is a rare oil painted on silver with a later period gold backing. It is set in a mid-1600s gold frame inset with pearls. The paint has a bit of flaking but is in generally good condition.


  1. antiquerose antiquerose, 3 years ago
    Stunning item, and post!! Thanks.

    She...shes.....a bit......ummmm, OH.........I just hope she found a Husband with that Pic. LOL
  2. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 3 years ago
    Fabulous 16th Century piece - how rare is that, just before the time of the Spanish Armada.

    Your collection continues to astonish - thank you for sharing.
  3. kyratango kyratango, 3 years ago
    Ooooh... Thank you for sharing such beautiful pieces, all with a story behind!

    P.S. Any Essex crystal pics to come? ;-))

  4. BelleEpoque BelleEpoque, 3 years ago
    A museum piece!!
  5. Bluboi Bluboi, 3 years ago
    Rose, in this time period, money conquered all.... I think she just looks really sad. And compared to a couple of portraits I have, she is ravishingly beautiful!!

    I have a friend who is a noted scholar on antique jewelry and who says he can pick up vibrations from various pieces. I know this is a bit woo woo, but when he held this portrait, he got very somber and said it gave off a great feeling of sadness....

    Hmmn Kyra, let me see what I can do. I am horrible at taking photos of those little round things....
  6. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 3 years ago
    If you look closely you'll see this sad girl is wearing an extraordinary necklace of large pearls and even larger earrings.

    On his last voyage Columbus discovered the existence Caribbean pearls, found off the coast of Venezuala, and the Spanish soon exploited the local people to establish the pearling industry, which became the 3rd largest source of revenue from the New World, after gold and silver.

    Her earrings and necklace of huge natural pearls would be worth $millions today!
  7. Bluboi Bluboi, 3 years ago
    Great point, Paul. It is hard to believe today, but in the 15th-16th centuries Portugal and Spain were the wealthiest nations in Europe due to the massive quantity of gems and gold from South America. And, if you want to see the power of the Papacy during that time period, look no further than the Treaty of Tordesillas.

    I found this description:

    Spain and Portugal led the ocean-going European explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries. Portuguese ships travelled to the southern Atlantic and the African coast while Columbus headed west in Spanish ships in 1492 to find a path to the trade centres of Asia.

    The Spanish and Portuguese looked to the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church, to legitimate their claims as they expanded their reach. In 1481, a Papal Bull, a special charter, granted the Canary Islands to the Castilians of Spain and rights to Africa for the Portuguese.

    When it was revealed that lands lay across the Atlantic (Europeans would soon realize these were the expansive continents of North and South America), disputes arose as to who had rights to these territories. The Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 split the “New World” between Spain and Portugal. Although very little of the new lands had been seen, lines were slashed across the globe, giving most of North and South America to Spain and the easternmost area of what is now Brazil to Portugal. The Treaty was sanctioned by a Papal decree, but future bulls moved this meridian back and forth, giving Spain control in Asia and allowing Portuguese expansion in Brazil. The French and the British were restricted from those areas under Papal authority, but they soon disregarded the bulls. Those nations not under the Treaty launched the search for a Northwest Passage, or engaged in piracy, conflict, and trade monopolies in other areas.
  8. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 years ago
    beautiful piece!! an expert in 16th/17th century collars could give you a very accurate date for your piece. i think that this type of collar and neckline were most popular from 1600-1610. The straight across low neckline was more popular in the north - England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, than in the south. i'm no expert by any stretch. this is just speculation based on portraits i found on the net.
  9. Bluboi Bluboi, 3 years ago
    Thanks for your note. This portrait is very similar to my young lady:


    Portrait of a Young Lady
    Paulus Moreelse (Dutch, 1571-1638)
    Circa 1620

    Oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Max and Leola Epstein Collection

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