The Art Form of Portrait Miniatures

Sandi Newberry and Harriet Shemer

Harriet Shemer and Andrea Holland

The Catalina Timewalkers SaddleBrooke chapter of The Questers held its Feb. 18 meeting at the elegant home of Sandi Newberry, who served as co-hostess for the event. Program hostess Harriet Shemer prepared a fascinating presentation that traced the development of portrait art miniatures and the various techniques involved to create these intricate and remarkable works of art. Dating back from the 15th century to the 19th century, portrait art miniatures became known as a symbolic way to express love and affection between people. They were regarded as intimate gifts within a family, used by partners during courtship, remembrances to mourn the loss of a loved one or to remember family members traveling to other countries and with the military, as well as diplomatic gifts.

As part of the program, Ms. Shemer demonstrated various examples of the miniatures’ materials surfaces used to paint on, the medium used, and the sizes of the portraits, as well as the types of frames used to enhance them. Member Beatriz Costello and guest Judy Gold exhibited several pieces from their miniature portrait collection from the 19th century.

Following the program, a delicious assortment of tantalizing refreshments was served, courtesy of our co-hostess Sandi Newberry, whose boulangerie artistry included caramel iced banana bread, crème puffs, and poppy seed bread, all baked to perfection! Members also took home a favor bag of valentine candy to conclude our celebration of friendship.

The purpose of The Questers is to educate its members and the public regarding historically significant places, things, and events, in addition to preservation and restoration. Catalina Timewalkers meets on the third Friday of the month, from October through May. Exceptions are December and May, when we meet on the second Friday of the month. We welcome everyone who is interested in our purpose of education. Call Sandy Newberry at 520-818-0199 if you are interested in attending a meeting or would like more information.