Miniature portraits first appeared in England during the 16th century. Small, portable, and easily displayed or concealed on one’s person, their popularity flourished – both in life and in literature. By the 19th century, their presence in romance novels and Gothics was practically de-rigueur.
Ann Radcliffe uses miniatures to great effect in several of her novels, including The Mysteries of Udolfo (1794) and The Italian (1797). In the following passage from The Italian, we get a glimpse of the enormous dramatic impact a miniature can have if produced at the right moment in the story.[…]Continue Reading