A message to our members and visitors about COVID-19 (PDF).
Temporarily Closed
OPEN

Miniature Portraits

Permanent Exhibition

Gallery 5

BUY TICKETS

The first American miniature portraits were painted in Charleston, and today the Gibbes is home to one of the most prestigious portrait miniature collections in the United States. Containing more than six hundred objects, the collection spans nearly two hundred years and represents the work of over a hundred artists. Small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, these tiny portraits were treasured remembrances of loved ones in the age before photography. Presented in state-of-the-art display cases, and in viewable storage drawers featured miniatures include works by Mary Roberts, Jeremiah Theus, Henry Benbridge, Charles Wilson Peale, Pierre Henri, Edward Greene Malbone, George Engleheart, and Charles Fraser.

Explore the miniature collection here.

<i>Colonel Thomas Pinckney, Jr. (1780-1842)</i>, by Edward Greene Malbone (American, 1777-1807); watercolor on ivory; 3 x 2 3/8 inches; Museum purchase; 1939.004.0003

Colonel Thomas Pinckney, Jr. (1780-1842), by Edward Greene Malbone (American, 1777-1807); watercolor on ivory; 3 x 2 3/8 inches; Museum purchase; 1939.004.0003

<i>Ralph Stead (1815-1858)and Anne Stead Izard (1812-1892)</i>, 1801, by Louis Antonie Collas (French, 1775-after 1829); oil on porcelain; 7 3/8 x 9 1/8 inches; Bequest of Mrs. Julius Heyward; 1943.004.0001

Ralph Stead (1815-1858)and Anne Stead Izard (1812-1892), 1801, by Louis Antonie Collas (French, 1775-after 1829); oil on porcelain; 7 3/8 x 9 1/8 inches; Bequest of Mrs. Julius Heyward; 1943.004.0001

<i>H. F. Plowden Weston (1738-1827)</i>, by Charles Fraser (American, 1782-1860); watercolor on ivory; 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Eliza Huger Kammerer Fund in memory of Helen Gardner McCormack; 1974.004

H. F. Plowden Weston (1738-1827), by Charles Fraser (American, 1782-1860); watercolor on ivory; 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches; Museum purchase with funds provided by the Eliza Huger Kammerer Fund in memory of Helen Gardner McCormack; 1974.004

<i>Unidentified sitter</i>, ca. 1745, by Mary Roberts (American, d. 1761); watercolor on ivory; 1 1/8 x 1 inches; Bequest of Mrs. Amelia Josephine Emanuel; 1939.009.0001

Unidentified sitter, ca. 1745, by Mary Roberts (American, d. 1761); watercolor on ivory; 1 1/8 x 1 inches; Bequest of Mrs. Amelia Josephine Emanuel; 1939.009.0001

<i>Eliza Izard (Mrs. Thomas Pinckney, Jr., 1784-1862)</i>, 1801, by Edward Greene Malbone (American, 1777-1807); watercolor on ivory; 2 7/8 x 2 3/8 inches; Museum purchase; 1939.004.0004

Eliza Izard (Mrs. Thomas Pinckney, Jr., 1784-1862), 1801, by Edward Greene Malbone (American, 1777-1807); watercolor on ivory; 2 7/8 x 2 3/8 inches; Museum purchase; 1939.004.0004

Related Content

In Memoriam: David Driskell (1931–2020) Pioneering Artist, Scholar, and Curator

This week the Gibbes and the rest of the art world are mourning the loss of groundbreaking artist and scholar David C. Driskell. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, and raised in…

READ MORE

#MuseumFromHome with Us

Let’s start the week with art. Let’s find hope, comfort, and joy in creativity. Although the Gibbes Museum is temporarily closed, we have never felt so deeply connected. Scroll down…

READ MORE

Artful Tips for Young Artists (and Parents)

Dear parents and members of the Gibbes family, We know that you are all juggling many different hats right now, including homeschooling your children. While the schools have sent some…

READ MORE

Creative Comforts

The past few weeks have been difficult for us all. Social distancing and shelter-in-place ordinances have kept our staff at home and away from the galleries and studios, where many…

READ MORE