The Starr Collection of Portrait Miniatures, 1500–1850 : The Collections of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Supplement: Starr Miniatures in Other Collections

Contributors:  By Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, with Blythe Sobol and Maggie Keenan

Leading up to the initial gift of 197 portrait miniatures to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 1958, John W. and Martha Jane Starr had already demonstrated their philanthropic dedication by presenting ten eye miniatures to the Metropolitan Museum of Art four years earlier. Their generosity extended to other esteemed institutions as well: they donated a noteworthy thirty-four miniatures to the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, between 1958 and 1969. Additionally, in 1961, six eye miniatures found their place at the Cleveland Museum of Art, followed by thirteen miniatures at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in 1966. This supplement serves as a comprehensive overview of the complete Starr Collection of portrait miniatures, encompassing those auctioned by the Starrs at Sotheby’s in 1982 as well as those whose current locations remain a mystery. It offers a glimpse into the extensive scope of their collection, reflecting their discerning collecting vision, which included a total of at least 363 miniatures, forty-two of which are eye miniatures.

The other four volumes are:

Volume 1: Continental and American, which contains the Foreword, Preface, Notes to the Reader, Continental 1600–1899, American 1700–1899, Eye Miniatures, and Decorative Miniatures

Volume 2: British part 1: Tudor (1485–1603), Stuart (1603–1714), and Georgian (1714–1837; artists’ last names A-E),

Volume 3: British part 2: Georgian (1714–1837; artists’ last names F–Z)

Volume 4: The World of John Smart (English, 1741–1811), which also includes all artists’ biographies and glossary terms

For a full list of the contents of each volume, see the series contents page. The catalogue will be published every six months beginning in early 2024, with object entries, introductory essays, and biographies added in their associated volume.