King Charles I (1600-1649), when Duke of York, as a boy, in green doublet slashed to reveal gold, with gold piping and jewelled buttons, white lace upstand collar, fair hair, wearing a drop-pearl earring and the Lesser George of the Order of the Garter on a blue ribbon around his neck; red 'wet in wet' curtain background within gold border
on vellum
oval, 1¼ in. (32 mm.) high, later gilt-metal frame with foliate edges
Christie's, Geneva, 15 November 1988, lot 490 (as by Nicholas Hilliard and Assistants).

Lot Essay

This miniature depicting King Charles I as a young boy is an important early example of the King's iconography. Charles I was made a Knight of the Garter in May 1611 and this would date the current work to circa 1611/1612 as he is depicted wearing the Lesser George of the Order of the Garter around his neck. Two of the earliest known miniatures of Charles I by Nicholas Hilliard are in the Victoria & Albert Museum. The earliest shows him as a young boy when Duke of York with fair hair and not wearing the Order of the Garter, and set against a blue background with gold drapery (P. 10-1947) while the slightly later miniature depicts an older Charles as Prince of Wales, wearing the Lesser George of the Order of the Garter and a white hat, set against a red wet-in-wet backgound and is dated to circa 1613 (P. 150-1910). The present miniature must fit between these works. A comparable miniature of the sitter's father, King James I, also wearing an emerald-green doublet and with a red 'wet in wet' curtain background, measuring 1.5/8 in. (41 mm.) high, was sold Sotheby's, London, 11 July 1991, lot 243.
For an article on King Charles I's early iconography, see M. Toynbee, 'Some Early Portraits of Charles I', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 91, no. 550, pp. 4-9.

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