Isaac Oliver

1 portrait

Isaac Oliver, by Isaac Oliver, circa 1590 - NPG 4852 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Isaac Oliver

by Isaac Oliver
watercolour on vellum, circa 1590
2 1/2 in. x 2 in. (64 mm x 51 mm) oval
Purchased with help from H.M. Government, 1971
Primary Collection
NPG 4852

Click on the links below to find out more:

Sitterback to top

  • Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Sitter in 5 portraits, Artist associated with 71 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 71 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

A Huguenot refugee from France, Isaac Oliver came to England with his family when he was a child. His miniature painting is distinguished from that of Nicholas Hilliard by softer modelling and a much greater use of shadows. Oliver was not, it seems, favoured by Elizabeth I but after her death he was appointed miniaturist to Anne of Denmark, and later to Henry, Prince of Wales, James I's elder son. This magnificent miniature is one of two self-portraits by Oliver and once belonged to Horace Walpole, who said of it, 'The art of the master and the imitation of nature are so great in it that the largest magnifying-glass only calls out new beauties'.

Linked publicationsback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.