Secondary Holdings of the Tormey-Holder Collection: Artist Unknown
Georgian Era "Memento Mori" Mourning Miniature
1 11/16 x 2 1/16 inches (sight)
watercolor on ivory; housed in a 15 carat gold pendant frame
Though not yet attributable to a specific artist, this miniature is a superb specimen of eighteenth century mourning art and is an important holding within the collection. Depicted is a skull and bones atop a casket that has been placed upon a tomb. The tomb has mourning hair (presumably, hair of the decedent) to the front and sides, and a tiny curl of blond hair to the front. The casket has two family crests to the front; and in the background are cypress trees (long associated with death and mourning) and a weeping willow (representing tears and sadness).
Attribution Advice Welcomed: Do you recognize aspects of this miniature portrait that you believe should be attributed to a specific artist that we have failed to consider? If so, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions and invite you to contact us.
A Note regarding Core vs. Secondary Holdings: Being that a significant amount of our time and energy is spent conducting biographical research on the lives of miniature portrait painters and the subjects they painted, we have chosen to designate as "core" those holdings that can be attributed to specific artists or are of solidly identifiable subjects. Interestingly, however, some miniatures that are designated as secondary holdings are actually more finely painted or are of greater value than some of their core holding counterparts. For the purposes of this website, they will nonetheless remain designated as secondary holdings until such time as their subjects or the artists who painted them can be identified with additional research.