The Miniature Portrait Collection of the First Ladies of Florida is a treasured part of the mansion's history. The collection is a group of small paintings portraying the wives of Florida governors. These women are known as the "First Ladies" of Florida.
The portraits are encased in small, oval, golden frames featuring the following first ladies:
|Mrs. Columba Bush (1999-2007)||Mrs. Donna Lou Askew (1971-1979)|
|Mrs. Anne MacKay (1998-1999)||Mrs. Erika Mattfeld Kirk (1967-1971)|
|Mrs. Rhea Chiles (1991-1998)||Mrs. Mildred Carlyon Burns (1965-1967)|
|Mrs. Mary Jane Martinez (1987-1991)||Mrs. Julia Burnett Bryant (1961-1965)|
|Mrs. Margie Mixson (1987)||Mrs. Mary Call Collins (1955-1961)|
|Mrs. Adele Khoury Graham (1979-1987)||Mrs. Mary Holland (1941-1945)|
Miniature portrait painting is a unique and exacting art that demands concentration, discipline and skill. It emerged from an art form, which involved the intricate decoration of books called illuminated manuscripts. In Medieval times, monks who wrote and decorated the manuscripts by hand used a red, lead pigment called minium. Minium was used to accent the designs. The word miniature evolved from this word.
Miniature portraits were originally painted on ivory, however this medium has since been replaced with a similar, synthetic material called ivorine. Ivorine is similar to celluloid and provides a very smooth surface for painting. Different types of paints such as oil paint, gouache and acrylics can be used on ivorine.
The portraits in this collection were painted by two Florida miniaturist painters: the late Jane Blake of Seminole and Jeanne Dunne of Clearwater. Jane Blake painted eight of the twelve miniature portraits. She was a founding member of the Miniature Art Society of Florida and was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the State of Florida by Governor Lawton Chiles. Artist Jeanne Dunne was selected to continue the portrait painting tradition for the collection. Jeanne is an internationally known artist and paints both large and miniature art. She is affiliated with the Miniature Artists of America and the Miniature Art Societies of Florida and Georgia.
The portraits are displayed in an Empire-style mahogany cabinet dating from 1860. The Empire style originated in France during the reign of Napoleon (1769-1821) and was later adopted in England and the United States. Furniture in this style is typically symmetrical, made of mahogany, and ornamented with ormolu mounts. "Ormolu" is a finish or coating of ground gold used to imitate gold.