Eight Embossed portraits on ivory coloured card, each approx. 6.5-8 x 5-6cm / 2.5-3 x 2 x 2.5 inches (Very Good, light even toning, Hill Portrait (# 2) will spots of discoloration in negative space in lower right), contained within an envelope addressed from Hissar, India to London, with 5 ‘India Postage’ Stamps, postmarked 1891, 9.5 x 12 cm / 4 x 5 inches (Good, some wear and toning, some largely closed old tears).
This is an especially fine set of eight embossed (raised-relief) miniature portraits on ivory coloured card of prominent Britons, which, on stylistic grounds, were made during the mid-19th Century. All of the portraits are busts in profile, executed to an unusually high level of technical élan through the employment of a metal die press. Features are sharp and precise, and the works possess an attractive sheen created by the pressure placed upon the ivory card. The names of each subject appear stamped below the shoulder.
The subjects of the portrait are as follows:
1) Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901), British monarch and Empress of India, reigned 1837 – 1901).
2) Sir Rowland Hill (1795 – 1879), educator, inventor and social reformer.
3) John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (1751 - 1838), barrister and Lord Chancellor of Great Britain (1801-6, 1807-27).
4) Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (1771 - 1832), Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet.
5) William Wilberforce (1759 - 1833), politician, largely responsible for abolishing the slave trade throughout the British Empire.
6) George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788 - 1824), celebrated Romantic poet.
7) Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769 - 1852), soldier, victor of the Battle of Waterloo (1815) and Prime Minister (1828-30, 1834).
8) John Wesley (1703-91), cleric and founder of Methodism.
Interestingly, the portraits were found (and appear to have been posted) within an enveloped that was dispatched from India to London in 1891. The envelope is addressed to “Mr. Robinson, Boot Maker, 368 Wandsworth Road, London SW, England”, and pasted on to which are 5 blue-green ‘India Postage’ ½ Anna stamps, bearing the portrait of Queen Victoria, postmarked ‘Hissar [today Hisar, Haryana, India] Exp. 1891’ and counter-stamped on the verso, ‘Bombay Apr. 11 91’. It seems that a Briton in India had sent these lovely portraits to Mr. Robinson in London.