This small, jewel-like portrait miniature by Jeremiah Meyer is exceptionally well preserved. This may be due to its size, as Meyer’s later miniatures are susceptible to fading, possibly due to particularly fugitive pigments that he used.

Jeremiah Meyer was born in Tübingen in Germany where he spent his childhood until the age of twelve, before being brought to England by his father, a portrait painter to the Duke of Württemberg. Meyer was the oldest of a group of artists, including Richard Cosway, John Smart and Richard Crosse, all born around the same date, who took lessons at William Shipley’s new drawing school, the first such school in London. After an expensive apprenticeship with Zincke (between 1757/1758), it seems that he also spent time at the informal St. Martin’s Lane ‘Academy’ run by William Hogarth. As one of the founder members of the Royal Academy, which opened in 1769, Meyer was one of a new generation of miniaturists who...

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This small, jewel-like portrait miniature by Jeremiah Meyer is exceptionally well preserved. This may be due to its size, as Meyer’s later miniatures are susceptible to fading, possibly due to particularly fugitive pigments that he used.

Jeremiah Meyer was born in Tübingen in Germany where he spent his childhood until the age of twelve, before being brought to England by his father, a portrait painter to the Duke of Württemberg. Meyer was the oldest of a group of artists, including Richard Cosway, John Smart and Richard Crosse, all born around the same date, who took lessons at William Shipley’s new drawing school, the first such school in London. After an expensive apprenticeship with Zincke (between 1757/1758), it seems that he also spent time at the informal St. Martin’s Lane ‘Academy’ run by William Hogarth. As one of the founder members of the Royal Academy, which opened in 1769, Meyer was one of a new generation of miniaturists who would present their art form in direct competition with oil painters.

In 1764, Meyer was appointed miniature painter to Queen Charlotte and painter in enamel to King George III. This secured his place as primary miniaturist for the royal family and improved his ability to secure important commissions. Meyer became the director of the Incorporated Society of Artists in 1765 and exhibited as an academician at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1769-1778 and again in 1783. Jeremiah Meyer was a good friend of George Romney who painted the Meyer family on his return from Italy. Whereas many miniaturists in the latter half of the 18th century commenced their careers as watercolourists on ivory and worked with enamels at a later stage, Meyer reversed this tradition. He died at his house on Kew Green on 20th January 1789.

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500 Years of British Art