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
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Sitter associated with 5 portraits, Artist associated with 71 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 71 portraits, Sitter associated with 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
- Tudor Portraits Resource Pack, p. 37
- MacLeod, Catharine, Tudor Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1996, p. 37
- Nicholl, Charles, Insights: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, 2005, p. 29
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 23
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 467
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 22