A beautiful pair of miniature portraits, both signed Fuger, painted in watercolors on organic material. In addition, the elaborate frames are made out of this same natural material, something rarely, if ever, seen. The sitters, in 18th century attire, are a young gent and lady posed against a blue sky with foliage and hills behind them.
Notes on the backs of the frames provide the following information: "These miniatures were bought by Ellen Franklin in antique shop Bellagio Italy in 1929. ???...in them $200 each largely on account of rare old carved ivory frames", and also "Pr. portrait miniatures by Fuger (the Cosway of Austria)". Although the signatures and style are, on the surface, consistent with those of Fuger, I cannot guarantee that these are by him, as opposed to "school of", "circle of", or "after".
The paintings are in generally excellent condition, although the man has some easily restored paint loss at the lower edge of his jacket. The sight size of these gems is 3 1/2" by 2 3/4" and the overall framed size is 6 1/2" by 3 3/4".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Heinrich Friedrich Füger (1751, in Heilbronn – 1818, in Vienna) was a German classicist portrait and historical painter. He was a pupil of Nicolas Guibal in Stuttgart and of Adam Friedrich Oeser in Leipzig. Following this, Fuger traveled and spent some time in Rome and Naples, where he painted frescoes in the Palazzo Caserta. On his return to Vienna he was appointed court painter, professor and vice director of the Academy, and in 1806 director of the Belvedere Gallery.
Among Fuger's portraits are those of Emperor Joseph II, the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Wilhelmine of Württemberg, Queen Caroline of Naples, and Horatio Nelson. His work is highly thought of and represented in many museums.