The History of Miniature Art 

Miniatures have been part of history since very early times. The role of the miniature changed as life developed and art was challenged by the introduction of photography.

The production of separate hand-held Portrait Miniatures flourished for about 300 years until the method of making photographs was invented in the mid 19th century, and the painting of miniatures almost disappeared.


Today sees a resurgence of miniature art with contemporary and modern influences alongside traditional reflections.  Artists are currently  taking the original concept of a miniature to new heights that are beyond the representational and portraiture -- yet still maintaining the integrity of miniature art which encourages viewers to look at the work closely in order to scrutinise the exquisite brush or pencil strokes.

What makes a miniature a miniature?
Miniatures may be created in any medium on any surface and of any subject.  To formalise the ‘standards’ of a miniature, our Society has determined that miniatures should be: 

  • decorative;

  • able to bear close scrutiny in displaying finely detailed brushwork;

  • have jewel-like brilliance;

  • depict subjects no larger than one-sixth its natural size, in a format no larger than 10 x 10 centimetres.


'Smoko' by member 
Elizabeth Anderson-Ovenden

By Member Lesley Freeman

By Erica Harper

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