About the Society of Limners

The Society of Limners was founded in 1986 by the late Elizabeth Davys Wood MBE, to promote and encourage the painting of miniatures and engraving to a high standard.

A miniature may be of any subject, painted on a small scale. The technique was handed down by illuminators of 15th and 16th Century manuscripts who worked with red lead or vermillion.

The word miniature is from the Latin for red pigment (minium) used in medieval manuscripts. Originally miniatures were known as limnings and the painters as limners.

These words are based on the old English limn, derived from the Latin word luminare. It was not until the 17th Century that they were called miniatures.

Miniaturists use many media, according to their individual styles. They usually paint on ivorine, a man-made imitation ivory, vellum or paper. The Society’s rules stipulate that works should be no larger than 7 inches by 5 inches when framed.

The Society not only attracts beginners to the art, but its members include many established artists. All have the common aim: to share their expertise and further the revival of this art form.

The Society has around 100 members including 11 Diploma members who are qualified to teach the subject.

The Society’s affairs are managed by an elected council under the direction of the acting Chairman.

The Society of Limners became a Charter Member of the World Federation of Miniaturists in 1995 and that year took part in the first World Exhibition of Miniatures. In September 2016 members of the Society took part in the sixth Worldwide Conference and Exhibition held in South Africa.

Representing and Promoting Miniaturists and Calligraphers