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An unknown lady

4.9 cm (1 1/1")
wearing a low cut blue dress with white underslip, a sprig of white flowers in her long flowing brown hair
enamel set in the inside lid of a gilt-mounted tortoiseshell box, the cover with pique work depicting flowers and a butterfly

Zincke was a German miniature painter active in England in the 18th century. He was born in Dresden and died in Lambeth (now London). He apprenticed his father and also studied painting. In 1706 he came to London to work at Charles Boit's studio, and when Boit left for France eight years later Zincke inherited many of his fashionable clients. He went on to become the most successful enamel painter of his era.
Suffering from poor eyesight in the later 1740s, he passed on his business to James Deacon. His works can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery.

It has not been possible to identify the sitter but she was undoubtedly a lady of fashion and wealth. The presence of a butterfly on the lid must have had some symbolic meaning. A butterfly has stood to mean many things but overwhelmingly, cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis. Perhaps the sitter was in the process of a significant transformation in her life such as marriage.
4.9 cm (1 1/1")
More Information
Year                 Circa 1725
Medium                 Enamel on copper
Literature                 The Comerford Collection: Portrait Miniatures (Dublin, privately published, 2009), pp 6, 19 (# 36)
Exhibition                 Comerford Collection at the Irish Architectural Archives in Dublin, in 2009.
Condition                 Good
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