Portrait miniatures were popular among 16th-century English and French aristocrats.
Spreading across Europe in the 18th century, miniatures remained very popular until the latter half of the 19th century when the first photographic processes started to appear.
Today, one of the reasons we take selfies is to share on social networks, particularly for use as our profile pictures. It's a convenient way to introduce ourselves to other people over distance.
This was one of the uses of portrait miniatures—as profile pictures : "this is me in my Sunday best."
Portrait miniatures also brought a new innovation in matchmaking. If a nobleman was proposing the marriage of his daughter, he would send a portrait miniature via courier to potential suitors.
At about half the size of an iPhone, they were convenient for carrying a picture of a loved one at all times.
Soldiers and sailors would draw comfort from them while traveling in remote corners of the world. And wives could keep a picture of their husband close to their hearts while he was away.
Small is beautiful.
Here are ten intimate expressions of love ... in miniature...