Isaac Oliver (Anglo-French, C. 1565-1617)
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Isaac Oliver (Anglo-French, C. 1565-1617)

Isaac Oliver (Anglo-French, C. 1565-1617)
Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662), ‘The Winter Queen’, blue background; gold border
On vellum
Oval, 53 mm. high, gilt-metal frame with spiral cresting, the reverse engraved ‘Princess Elizabeth / Daughter of James 1st’
His Grace The Duke of Hamilton; Part IV, Christie’s, London, 15 July 1882, lot 1614 (as ‘Princess Elizabeth’, 20 gns to Davis).
John Lumsden Propert Collection, by 1887; sold Fine Art Society, London, May 1897, no. 15 (as 'Princess Elizabeth by Nicholas Hilliard').
Lady Northcote; (†) Sotheby’s, London, 19 July 1934, lot 98 (as 'Princess Elizabeth, Daughter of James I by Nicholas Hilliard').
With Leo R. Schidlof, from whom acquired by Ernst Holzscheiter in Paris 21 May 1938 (inv. nos. MD/0162 and 565).
Propert 1887, ill. op. p. 58 (as ‘Princess Elizabeth by N. Hilliard’).
von der Mühll 1947, p. 42, illustrated in colour no. 15.
Rieben 1951; Werner 1951; Rieben 1952, illustrated in colour pl. I (as ‘Princess Elizabeth’ by Teerlinc, the image incorrectly positioned).
Schidlof 1964, II, pp. 804, 1051, illustrated IV, pl. 567, fig. 1153 (as ‘presumably of Princess Elisabeth [sic] by Lavina Teerlinc').
Foskett 1972, illustrated colour plate VII, fig. 24 (as ‘called Elizabeth of Bohemia by Isaac Oliver’).
Finsten 1981, II, pp. 160-161, no. 140, illustrated fig. 128 (as ‘Portrait of a Young Lady (Called Elizabeth of Bohemia)’).
London 1887, no. 473 (as 'Princess Elizabeth by Nicholas Hilliard', lent by J. Lumdsen Propert).
London 1889, case XXXIV, no. 49, ill. pl. IV (as 'Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia by N. Hilliard', lent by J. Lumsden Propert, Esq).
London 1890, no. 13 (as 'Princess Elizabeth by Nicholas Hilliard', lent by J. Lumdsen Propert).
Geneva 1956, no. 430, illustrated (as 'a presumed portrait of Elizabeth of Bohemia by Lavina Teerlinc').
Zurich 1957-58 and 1961.
Edinburgh 1975, no. 69, illustrated (as ‘almost certainly the work of Isaac Oliver’).
Special notice

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Lot Essay

Born Princess Elizabeth Stuart of Scotland, the sitter was the eldest daughter of James VI of Scotland, who became King James I of England and his Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, and was the sister of King Charles I. She was christened Elizabeth after her godmother Queen Elizabeth I. She married, in 1613, Frederick V, Elector Palatine whose reign in Bohemia lasted only one winter, prompting her informal title of ‘The Winter Queen’.
The present portrait fits firmly into a small group of miniatures by Isaac Oliver portraying Princess Elizabeth in the years up to her marriage in 1613. The earliest of this group dating to circa 1605 is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (EVANS.7) and shows the sitter as a young girl aged nine or ten in a silvered dress with high-standing white lace ruff and high-piled light brown hair adorned with red rosettes and jewels. A miniature of the sitter in the Royal Collection (RCIN 420031) of circa 1610 showing the sitter a few years later in the same pose and equally adorned with jewels. The present portrait compares closely with both of these works but she appears slightly older, suggesting that it was painted circa 1610/13.
The group of miniatures painted after her marriage continue to depict her in richly adorned dresses and jewellery with red rosettes in her hair, but they fall into a different portrait type (Royal Collection, RCIN 420044), Victoria & Albert Museum (P.152-1910) and another version sold in these rooms from the celebrated James Sotheby Collection, Christie’s, 15 April 1997, lot 30.

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