The Art of Portraiture

Ellen Roth Cover (4)In Ten Fingers Touching, after the Princess disappears, the Kingdom is in chaos. Everyone, including Evil, searches for the missing child. Marianna, her governess, runs into a group of village children and asks them if they have seen the Princess. They all reply negatively. Then she shows them a miniature portrait of Princess Rosy. The children are shocked at seeing the face of a girl who comes to the village and plays with them.

Miniature portraiture evolved from the art of illuminated manuscripts and was popularized in 16th century France and England. The earliest portraits were painted in watercolor on stretched vellum, a form of parchment. The subjects centered on the court. Portraits served as personal mementoes bestowed on court favorites, such as the one given to Marianna by the King and Queen, but they were also used to provide introductions between a young man and lady of noble birth destined to be betrothed for political or economic reasons. The first Queen Elizabeth’s wealthier subjects wore her image as a sign of loyalty to the crown.


Miniature portrait of Princess Rosy

Portrait painting on ivory was adopted around 1700. Over the years, miniature portraits appeared in jewelry (e.g., lockets, brooches) and on snuff box covers that were available to the affluent middle class. Miniature portraits were cherished as intimate tokens of affection because they could be kissed or held close to a lover’s heart.

The art of miniature portraiture began to decline with the birth of photography in 1839. The new technology produced portraits that were quick, accessible to the general public, affordable and ensured an accurate likeness.

The portraits in Ten Fingers Touching were created through digital art combining the beauty of painterly images with the latest in computer technology.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

Ten Fingers Touching, a story about true love, makes a special gift when given as a token of affection during the holidays. It can be ordered through, Barnes & Noble, as well as from local Pittsburgh bookstores and gift shops. Click here for more information.

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