A message to our members and visitors about COVID-19 (PDF).
CLOSED. OPEN TOMORROW AT 10
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