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

A Rotating Gallery in an Editor’s Historic Charleston Apartment

It’s sort of an unexpected gallery space. Or at least, I didn’t expect it. My one-bedroom apartment in a historic building on Meeting Street lets the light in with nine…

READ MORE

The Gibbes Museum of Art to Reopen Following COVID-19 Related Closure

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 25, 2020 – The Gibbes Museum of Art will reopen to the public on June 1, after temporarily closing its doors on March 18 due to the…

READ MORE

Celebrating our Fellows Members and Honoring Susan Smythe

At the Gibbes Museum, we look forward to Memorial Day Weekend and the artistic energy that swells throughout Charleston with the opening of Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto. The…

READ MORE

What Might Have Been and What Hopes to Be

Today was to be a celebratory day for the Gibbes Museum. Our much-anticipated exhibition Fred Wilson: Afro Kismet, organized by Wilson and Pace Gallery, New York, was set to open…

READ MORE