Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)

Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)

A young Lady, facing left in black embroidered white dress with large lace edged ruff, gold portrait medallion pinned to her jacket, black cap in her brown hair

on vellum, backed with a playing card, oval, 2in. (51mm.) high, gilt-metal frame with spiral cresting
L. R. Schidlof, The Miniature in Europe, Graz, 1964, II, pp. 804, 1051, ill. IV, pl. 567, no. 1154 (verbo Lavina Teerlinc)
Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Chefs-d'oeuvre de la miniature et de la gouache, 1956, no. 431 (as by Lavina Teerlinc)

Lot Essay

E. Auerbach (Nicholas Hilliard, London, 1961, p. 133) describes a group of ladies including an unknown lady, formerly called Princesse de Condé in the Metropolitan Museum, dated 1597 (id., pl. 103), the young Unknown lady, formerly called Lady Arabella Stuart, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (id., pl. 104) the Unknown Lady, called Mrs Hilliard, in the National Museum Stockholm, (id., pl. 105) and A Lady, called Lady Arabella Stuart, formerly in the Sotheby Collection (id., p. 106) and Catherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham at Drumlanrig Castle (id., pl. 107) 'in three-quarter position turned to the left, hair and ruffs elegantly arranged and the whole expression dominated by the eloquent eyes and a bewitching smile around the corners of the mouth' that this sitter so aptly displays.

Hilliard's tight treatment of the hair in this miniature demonstrates his change of style circa 1593 in response to work of his rival, Isaac Oliver. An example of this development may be seen in the miniature of the Unknown Lady, aged 26, dated 1593, in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is the earliest dated example of Hilliard painting in imitation of Oliver in 'carefully marshalled tight brush strokes in ordered lines' (R. Strong, Artists of the Tudor Court, London, 1974, p. 81).

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