Kathryn Hughes in The Guardian:

Holbein_janesmall1 Ever since its earliest days, limning (to give miniature painting its original name) has been the subject of a certain status anxiety. Practitioners and commentators have worried that it is not art at all, but itsy-bitsy hackwork. Or, conversely, that it is not an artisanal craft suitable for men, but merely a hobby for ladies. Or that it is an instrument of the court, full of pomp but not much else. Or, that it is small and domestic, a toy art.

Yet alongside this anxious babble is the work itself, an unarguable four centuries’ worth of small marvels…

More here.