Portrait Collection (hi res)

Portrait Collection

The Miniature Portrait Collection of the First Ladies of Florida is a treasured part of mansion history. The collection features a group of small paintings portraying the wives of Florida governors who are also known as Florida’s “First Ladies.” Each portrait is encased in a small, oval, golden frame. They are as follows:

Mrs. Ann Scott (2011-present)    Mrs. Adele Graham (1979-1987)
Mrs. Carole Crist (2008-2010) Mrs. Donna Lou Askew (1971-1979)
Mrs. Columba Bush (1999-2007) Mrs. Erika Kirk (1967-1971)
Mrs. Anne MacKay (1998-1999) Mrs. Mildred Burns (1965-1967)
Mrs. Rhea Chiles (1991-1998) Mrs. Julia Bryant (1961-1965)
Mrs. Mary Jane Martinez (1987-1991) Mrs. Mary Call Collins (1955-1961)
Mrs. Margie Mixson (1987) Mrs. Mary Holland (1941-1945)

Miniature portrait painting is a unique, exacting art that demands concentration, discipline and skill. It emerged from an art form which involved the intricate decoration found in illuminated manuscripts. In Medieval art, monks who wrote and decorated the manuscripts by hand used a red, lead pigment called minium which 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 paint such as oil, gouache and acrylics can be used on ivorine.

The portraits in this collection were painted by three renowned Florida miniaturist painters with outstanding credentials in their area of expertise. The late Jane Blake of Seminole, FL was a founding member of the Miniature Society of Florida and painted the first eight portraits. The late Jeanne Dunne of Clearwater, FL had a national and international reputation and was selected to paint the next four portraits. Currently, award-winning painter Markissia Toulitos of Tarpon Springs, FL has been our resident artist to complete the two most recent miniature portraits.

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.