Collections

Miniature Portraits of John and Isabella Gifford

Miniature portraits

These two miniature portraits feature John Gifford, Jr. and his wife Isabella Gifford. The unknown artist painted their images with oil paint on ivory. Each miniature is in a brass frame locket with a small glass window on the back.

Isabella’s window holds a lock of hair while John’s is empty. They were donated in 1988 from the estate of Charles S. Tapley. John and Isabella Gifford were possibly ancestors of Tapley.

Miniature portraits of loved ones were popular even back to Medieval Europe. As lockets, they were meant to be worn or hung in a prominent place in the home. The artwork of John’s portrait compared to Isabella’s, suggest that his portrait was created by a more talented artist and probably cost more than Isabella’s.