Portraits with overlays
Miniature Portraits with overlays of mica.
Unusual portraits came into fashion after about 1650. However, all the portraits that were found on the Internet belong to the period from the 1640s to the 1660s.
The portrait is a miniature painted in oil on copper and placed in a case. The miniature is accompanied by several plates of costumes, painted in opaque color on pieces of a transparent mineral known at the time as “talc.” But the small plates with the “images” are pieces of mica. This is a mineral that splits easily into thin yet very tough and flexible flakes, as transparent as glass. These plates matched the miniature in shape and size, so the owner could “play” with different costumes by applying mica one at a time. There are mica portraits from the Netherlands, England and France, but there are probably many more.