Details
ISAAC OLIVER (ANGLO-FRENCH, C. 1565-1617)
A gentleman in gilt-bordered silver breastplate and red ceremonial sash, wearing a lace ruff
On vellum, laid down on a playing card of a queen
Oval, 47 mm. high, gilt-metal frame with spiral surmount
Provenance
With Henry Pfungst, in 1912.
Henry J. Pfungst; (+) Christie's, London, 14 June 1917, lot 58 (as 'Henry, Prince of Wales, attributed to Oliver', 110 gns to Stoner).
A Dutch Collector; Christie's, London, 21 February 1961, lot 89 (as Henry, Prince of Wales, wearing the ribbon of the Thistle. 500 gns to Backer).
C.H. Gilbert Esq., Lisbon; Christie's, London, 3 December 1963, lot 29 (as a Young Nobleman, 520 gns to Backer).
Literature
Country Life, 1963, illustrated.
Financial Times, 1963, mentioned in sale round-up.
Victoria and Albert Museum. Catalogue of a Collection of Miniatures lent in 1914-15 by Henry J. Pfungst, Esq., F.S.A., London, 1912, no. 25).
J. Finsten, Isaac Oliver. Art at the Courts of Elizabeth I and James I, New York and London, 1981 (typescript), I, pp. 155-156, no. 129 (as 'Called Henry Prince of Wales').
Exhibited
On loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1914-1915.
Brussels, Hôtel Goffinet, Exposition de la miniature, 1912, no. 255 (as Henry, Prince of Wales, lent by Henry Pfungst).
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Tentoonstelling van Oude Kunst, 1929 (lent by A. Staal).

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Peter Horwood
Peter Horwood

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Lot Essay

The present portrait by Oliver compares with one of a nobleman, signed and dated 1617, sold Christie’s, London, 20 March 1990, lot 150 in which the sitter wears a very similar embroidered sash. One stylistic difference is the colour of the sash, which is green in the 1617 portrait. A further comparison can be made between the red sash worn by the sitter in the present portrait and one worn by Henry Prince of Wales in profile, thought to have been painted circa 1610. The miniature, which is in the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge (inv. no. 3903) depicts the Prince 'in the manner of an ancient Roman emperor, wearing a Jacobean idea of classical armour' (C. MacLeod, Elizabethan Treasures. Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver, London, 2019), and the sash is worn across the front of his chest, across both shoulders.
The lovelock falling from the sitter’s hair is a hairstyle associated with male courtiers in the 16th and 17th centuries and is a symbol of affection. The hair, which is sometimes adorned with a bow or a jewel, typically falls over the sitter’s left shoulder, towards the sitter’s heart.

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