Kenneth Kendall experimented with a variety of techniques and mediums when creating art and often looked to the 18th century for inspiration. It was his fascination with the tradition of the portrait miniature that led him to the creation of some of his finest works. He used a combination of hand ground pigments, which were mixed and then painted on porcelain plaques that were fired in a small kiln at temperatures exceeding 1200° F. Each work received multiple firings as the details were added, some taking over 50 hours to complete.

 

Starting in the late 1960s, he continued to paint miniatures intermittently for the next 30 years. Many of Kenneth’s friends and family received portraits of themselves and loved ones. Some of the lucky recipients included Adeline Nall, Bette Davis (who purchased several), Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Kenneth Anger, Maila Nurmi, Pablo Picasso, Tennessee Williams and Chris Jagger.  He exhibited at the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in London and was included in Daphne Foskett’s book Collecting Miniatures. The estate has documented and catalogued over 133 portrait miniatures so far.

Curtis Price, 1973
Curtis Price, 1973

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“

Leontyne Price, 1971
Leontyne Price, 1971

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“

Paul Mathison, 1972
Paul Mathison, 1972

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“

Nathan Pino, 1973
Nathan Pino, 1973

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“

Christopher Jagger
Christopher Jagger

in Kendall Studio, 1973 enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“

Vvian, Mrs. Christopher Jagger, 1974
Vvian, Mrs. Christopher Jagger, 1974

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“

John Barrymore as Gloucester
John Barrymore as Gloucester

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

A Knight of the Round Table, 1972
A Knight of the Round Table, 1972

enamel on porcelain 3 ½" diameter

Tennessee Williams, 1972
Tennessee Williams, 1972

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾" May 24, 1972: Showed it to T.W.: “very good, but too young! You painted that?? Ver-good [sic] !”

Steve Reeves at 27, 1972
Steve Reeves at 27, 1972

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

James Dean, 1987
James Dean, 1987

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Maila Nurmi as Vampira, 1970
Maila Nurmi as Vampira, 1970

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Jean Harlow, 1971
Jean Harlow, 1971

enamel on porcelain pearl encrusted frame 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Bette Davis as The Empress Carlotta
Bette Davis as The Empress Carlotta

enamel on porcelain pearl encrusted frame 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Mae West, 1987
Mae West, 1987

enamel on porcelain rhinestone encrusted frame 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Harry Hamlin as Perseus, 1981
Harry Hamlin as Perseus, 1981

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Marilyn Monroe, 1976
Marilyn Monroe, 1976

enamel on porcelain pearl and rhinestone encrusted frame 4 ¾" x 3 ¾"

Jeff Richards at 24, 1970
Jeff Richards at 24, 1970

enamel on porcelain 4 ¾" x 3 ¾“