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The informal and intimate nature of this portrait suggests that the sitter is related to the artist of this portrait miniature, perhaps their child? The blue sky and landscape depicted behind the sitter, his open shirt and handkerchief about to fall from his pocket also indicate that this was a portrait recording a moment caught in time, quite different to the more formal and static portrayals in the majority of miniatures. Although the artist is currently unknown, traces of pencil on the ivory suggest that this miniature may initially have been sketched from life in graphite, an unusual technique for a miniaturist. Although widely exhibited, the artist remains a mystery, with only the French artist Louis Marie Sicardi (1743-1825) suggested as a possible hand in 1931 by Belleudy (see Literature).

The exact origin of the kite is unknown, although they were said to have been invented in China in the 5th century BC. Kites then came to Europe, brought...

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The informal and intimate nature of this portrait suggests that the sitter is related to the artist of this portrait miniature, perhaps their child? The blue sky and landscape depicted behind the sitter, his open shirt and handkerchief about to fall from his pocket also indicate that this was a portrait recording a moment caught in time, quite different to the more formal and static portrayals in the majority of miniatures. Although the artist is currently unknown, traces of pencil on the ivory suggest that this miniature may initially have been sketched from life in graphite, an unusual technique for a miniaturist. Although widely exhibited, the artist remains a mystery, with only the French artist Louis Marie Sicardi (1743-1825) suggested as a possible hand in 1931 by Belleudy (see Literature).

The exact origin of the kite is unknown, although they were said to have been invented in China in the 5th century BC. Kites then came to Europe, brought by Marco Polo, towards the end of the 13th century and they were transported back from Japan and Malaysia by sailors during the 16th and 17th centuries. By the time this portrait was painted in the late eighteenth century, kites were flown both as a fashionable pastime and as a vehicle for scientific research. The best-known example of the use of kites in science is Benjamin Franklin’s experiment during a thunderstorm to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning in 1752. The kite picked up the ambient electrical charge from the storm and proved his theory.

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500 Years of British Art