★★★★★ The Times
‘Breathtakingly gorgeous’

★★★★★ The Telegraph
‘Small wonders from Elizabethan giants’

★★★★★ The Observer
‘Among the greatest works in European art’

★★★★★ The Times
★★★★★ The Telegraph
★★★★★ The Observer

Described as ‘a thing apart from all other painting or drawing’, the portrait miniatures of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods are some of the greatest works of art to be produced in the British Isles. Hilliard and Oliver were compared by their contemporaries to Michelangelo and Raphael, and gained international fame and admiration.  

This is the first major UK exhibition of these miniatures for a generation. It explores what these intimate images reveal about identity, society and visual culture in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.


Spring Season 2019 sponsored by

Supported by the Elizabethan Treasures Exhibition Circle

Download the Large-Print Guide featuring all the wall captions across the exhibition

21 February - 19 May 2019

Open daily 10.00 – 18.00/ Friday until 21.00

Porter Gallery

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE


£10-12/ £8.50-9.50 (concessions)

(Transaction fee applies)
Exhibitions are free for Members and Patrons




Alternatively please book your tickets using the authorised methods below or become a Member to enjoy free and unlimited entry to all exhibitions. You will not need to pay more than the price of Gallery Membership to see the exhibition.

By phone 020 7321 6600
Daily 10.00 – 17.30 (transaction fee applies)

In person at the Gallery
Daily 10.00 – 17.00, Fridays until 20.00

Tickets without donation £10/ £8.50 (concessions)
Tickets with donation £12/ £10.50 (concessions)

Concessions include: senior citizens (aged 60 and over), students, children 12–18 years, registered unemployed, disabled people (with free entry for one carer). Proof of age or status required.

Free admission
Gallery Members, Supporters and children under 12 years in family groups.
National Art Pass holders 50% discount

Family Tickets
Book an Adult or Senior ticket and receive 50% off tickets for up to four children (12 – 18).

Tickets are £3 per student/pupil for groups 10+ visiting from 10.00-14.00, booking and paying at least a month in advance. Find out more. Find out more.

Special tours are available for groups, including a lecture and opportunity to explore the exhibition. For more information visit group tours.

Elizabethan Treasures is the first major exhibition of Elizabethan and Jacobean portrait miniatures in the UK for over thirty-five years and includes portraits which are rarely on public display. Dating from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries these precious and vulnerable objects need to be shown in special conditions. These conditions include specific light levels, lender stipulations about how the miniatures are held and supported and a high level of security and conservation protection. As the works are by their nature very small this also has an impact on the viewing experience.

The Gallery is committed to providing for our visitors’ needs and we have made the exhibition as accessible as possible within these restrictions. These guidelines explain how the conditions mentioned above may affect your visit.

Please note that due to the nature of the portraits in the exhibition, which are over 400 years old, the lighting in the exhibition is set at a low level to protect the works.

As the portraits are small, magnifiers are permitted to view some of the works. However, there are restrictions on usage, as light (lux) levels can increase significantly when using a magnifier under overhead lighting and this would have an adverse effect on the condition of the portraits. The miniatures which cannot be viewed with a magnifier have a sign next to them with a crossed out magnifying glass symbol. For the same reason, magnifiers with a light are not permitted.

We have a limited number of magnifiers available on request on a first come, first served basis, should you need to borrow one for your visit please ask a member of staff.

Case height
Due to the delicate and small nature of the works they are displayed in cases which have been set at a variety of levels taking into consideration conservation issues and the average viewing height. We have made the exhibition as accessible as possible within these restrictions but in some areas this may cause viewing issues for children or visitors in a wheelchair. Exhibition catalogues and large print guides are available. Please contact [email protected] or speak to a member of staff if you have any concerns or need assistance.

Large print guides
Large print guides are available at the entrance of the exhibition or by speaking to a member of staff. The large print guide is also available to download as a pdf here

To protect the artworks large bags need to be left in the cloakroom, however, smaller rucksacks and handbags may be taken into the exhibition provided they are not worn on the back. For more information about the cloakroom services, click here.

To protect the works photography is not permitted in the exhibition and as such visitors using magnifying apps on their phones will be asked not to do so and can be provided with a magnifier instead.

There are a number of benches for visitors inside the exhibition.

Are you Under 25?

Sir Walter Ralegh (detail) by Nicholas Hilliard © National Portrait Gallery, London

Then every Friday enjoy £5 entry to Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver. Why not make an evening of it and head to our after-hours Friday Lates on until 9pm.



A range of free and ticketed events including talks, workshops, family activities and live music complements the exhibition

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Enjoy free and unlimited entry to all ticketed exhibitions with no need to book, along with other benefits. Membership starts from just £55. Find out more and join online today here.

Patrons enjoy all of the benefits of Membership plus more. Find out more and join online today here.

Find out more

Portrait Restaurant

Breath-taking by day and dramatic by night, enjoy the Portrait Restaurant's celebrated views across London with one of our exclusive ticket and dining packages, including our celebrated afternoon tea and a pre-theatre supper menu with seasonal local produce.

Find out more

Group Tours

Discover more about the exhibition with a private lecture by an expert art historian or artist in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre, followed by a visit to the exhibition. Prices include exhibition entry.

£25 Person

Book Now


This fascinating book explores the genre with special reference to two of its most accomplished practitioners, Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. Regular price £35.00

Film Series

First part of a series of films complementing the exhibition Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver. Discover the world of secrets and symbols with Senior Curator, 17th Century Collections.

Exhibition Tickets

£10/ £8.50 (concessions)

(Transaction fee applies)

Exhibitions are free for Members and Patrons



National Portrait Gallery

St Martin's Place
020 7306 0055
Contact us

Opening hours

Daily 10.00 – 18.00
Fridays until 21.00
Last admission to the exhibition is one hour before the Gallery closes.
Exiting commences ten minutes before the closing time.

Friday Lates

Enjoy a drink at the bar and music inspired by our exhibitions, join our hugely popular mass art occupation of the Gallery and explore ideas about art, culture and society with our talks programme every Friday until 21.00.


Getting to the Gallery


Leicester Square / Charing Cross


Charing Cross


For directions to the Gallery please click here

Shop entrance in St Martin's Place, please click here for more information on Access at the Gallery

Recorded information: 020 7312 2463
Text Direct: 18001

Recorded information: 020 7312 2463
Text Direct: 18001

Miniatures in the Gallery's Collection

Explore fascinating details online, featuring Image zoom and supplementary Images from our Collection of miniatures here.