Some objects fit naturally into their surroundings. They are familiar, habitual. Other objects look like they landed on earth from outer space. This is how the collection of European portrait miniatures appears in the vaults of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dozens of bright, ornate, gilded, and bejeweled palm-size framed faces, of Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte, the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat- how strange they seem in Berkeley. And yet, as part of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst legacy, alongside the Roman architecture of the campus and the buildings designed in the Arts and Crafts style by Julia Morgan, this collection of tiny portraits only enhances Phoebe Hearst's reputation for eclectic patronage. Missouri-born Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919) married businessman and politician George Hearst and moved with him to California in 1863. Mrs. Hearst embarked on a lifetime of collecting during her frequent and extensive travels in Europe. Her primary interest as a collector was in anthropology and archaeology, and in 1901 she founded the Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. The portrait miniatures were bequeathed to the museum in 1909. They have never been seen publicly. The miniatures provide insight into the collecting culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Collecting served the practical function of making the many, often temporary abodes of the wealthy feel like homes and reflected the tastes of the day, which tended toward eighteenth-century romantic interiors, royalist historical subjects, and a general fascination with things European. Mrs. Hearst was part of a generation of American collectors - including J. P. Morgan, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Samuel H. Kress - who were responsible for introducing the art of Europe to the American public. Her art collection extended well beyond the miniatures and, in its inclusion of an exceptionally wide range of art forms from a variety of cultures, reflected her adventuresome vision. This was evidenced in a 1917 exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco that filled seventeen galleries. Overactive American collecting of European art at the end of the nineteenth century drove prices sky high and produced an industry of fakes and copies. Collectors' tastes tended toward the glamorous aristocratic period of European history and the market overflowed with multiple copies of famous eighteenth-century portrait miniatures, the Duchess of Devonshire being one of the most popular subjects. The exhibition on view in BAMPFA's Gallery 4 includes approximately fifty portrait miniatures from England, France, Germany, and Poland, primarily from Mrs. Hearst's collection, some of them original period pieces, some later copies, which give us insight into the appeal of these objects for the tastemakers of the period. With its roots in the tradition of manuscript illumination, the practice of portrait miniature painting began to flourish throughout Europe in the sixteenth century. Its visual language was based on the formulas for secular portrait painting developed by such artists as Jean and François Clouet and Hans Holbein. The first miniaturists used watercolor to paint on stretched vellum, but after the eighteenth century miniatures were also painted on ivory and enamel. By the mid-1800s, however, the rapid development of daguerreotype and other photographic processes as a means of capturing and reproducing portrait images contributed to the decline in popularity of the intricate art form of miniatures. As small in size as one and a half by one and a quarter inches, portrait miniatures were used as personal mementos or as jewelry, wall hangings, or snuff box covers. Their relic-like function was often emphasized by a decorative arrangement of the sitter's hair, preserved on the miniature's reverse side. Yet portrait miniatures are not just small-scale portraits. What distinguishes them is the special quality of intimacy between the artist and the sitter, resulting from a combination of personal object and representational techniques that create the illusion of intimacy, such as tight framing, the use of plain, flat backgrounds, and the tricks of perspective that make the faces "come off" the surface.