A Young Boy

Richard Bull (active 1777–1809)circa 1790

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum

In England, from the late 1760s through the 1790s, a case style appeared that included a hairwork border on the front of the miniature. The hairwork is fashioned into either a braid or a belt, as can be seen here. Because the clasped belt creates an eternal loop that threads through itself, it is a symbol of eternity, fidelity, and protection. It therefore represents upholding the memory and love for someone forever. The oval format of miniature cases further emphasizes this concept as the hair literally surrounds the portrait in an unending border.

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  • Title: A Young Boy
  • Creator: Richard Bull (active 1777–1809)
  • Date Created: circa 1790
  • Location: Ireland
  • Physical Dimensions: 2 x 1 ½ in. (5.1 x 3.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann in memory of Julius Fleischmann
  • Accession Number: 1991.384
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory, plaited hair, and seed pearls