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Creator Nicholas Hilliard, ca. 1547–1619, British
Title Portrait of a Lady
Alternate Title(s) Elizabeth Queen of Bohemia Daughter of James 1st of England
Date between 1600 and 1615
Medium Watercolor and gouache on vellum laid onto card
Dimensions Sheet: 2 x 1 11/16 inches (5.1 x 4.3 cm) Frame: 2 3/4 x 2 1/4 x 1/2 inches (7 x 5.7 x 1.3 cm)
Engraved on back of frame center: "Elizabeth | Queen of Bohemia | daughter of | James 1st of England | Isaac Oliver"
Credit Line Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Accession Number B1974.2.51
Collection Prints and Drawings
Curatorial Comment The identities of both the sitter and artist for this miniature, who were traditionally thought to be Elizabeth, daughter of James I and later Queen of Bohemia, and Isaac Oliver, respectively, were debated and revised in the twentieth century. Graham Reynolds reattributed the work to Nicholas Hilliard in 1947, a revision that remains unchallenged, and Erna Auerbach unequivocally stated that comparison of this portrait with those authenticated as Princess Elizabeth make the original identification unsupportable. The miniature of the princess by Isaac Oliver, in the Center's collection, also offers a markedly different image. Indeed, the brightly colored gown, open stance, and flowing, seemingly wind-tossed hair of the sitter give a life and vividness to the work that differs markedly from most other miniatures identified as Princess Elizabeth, which show her in stiff formal splendor, with her hair dressed high on her head. Reynolds places “Portrait of a Lady” among a series of portraits of women with loose, flowing hair done by Hilliard circa 1605-10, which both he and Auerbach count as some of the artist's finest work in his later years. This miniature, and the pattern miniature of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, by Hilliard’s talented pupil Isaac Oliver, both passed from Horace Walpole's splendid collection to that of the 13th Earl of Derby.
     -- Lisa Ford, 2007-01
Link to This Record
Subject Terms portrait

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 241, no. 2, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 2, N590.2 A82 (YCBA)

Earl of Derby's Miniatures on loan to the Manchester Art Galleries, Connoisseur, vol. 141, June 1958, pp. 44-46, J10 +C762 (SML)

Patrick Noon, English Portrait Drawings & Miniatures, Yale Center for British Art, 1979, pp. 3-4, No. 1, NC772 N66+ (Wall Shelf) (YCBA)

South Kensington Museum, Catalogue of the special exhibition of portrait miniatures on loan at the South Kensington museum, Whittingham and Wilkins, London, 1865, p. 162, no. 1812, N7616 S6 + Oversize (YCBA)

Graham Reynolds, Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver: An exhibition to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas Hilliard, Ministry of education (UK), London, 1947, p. 35, no. 97, NJ18 H51 R48 (YCBA)

Lindsay Stainton, Drawing in England from Hilliard to Hogarth, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987, p. 47, no. 1, NC228 S73 1987 (YCBA)

British portraits : Winter exhibition, 1956-57., , , Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1956, v. 1, p. 194, no. 633, N5054 A545 1956 57 v. 1 and 2 (YCBA) , Alao available on Microfiche; Fiche B196, fiche #'s 1 - 4

Horace Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting in England, with some account of the principal artists; and incidental notes on other artists, Vol. 1, Strawberry Hill Press, London, 1796, p. 256, Available online , Available online from Eighteenth Century Collections Online (Gale)

Cynthia Roman, Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2009, pp. 193, 318, cat. no. 176, fig. 21, N5247 W25 H67 2009 + (YCBA)

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