biographies – n. hilliard


Nicholas Hilliard, (1547 – 1619) was the first great native-born English painter who brought to the highest point the art of miniature portraiture (called limning in Elizabethan England) . Because of religious problems – his father was a proponent of the Reformed religion – he lived in Geneva where he met French art. Back to England his earliest miniature paintings date 1560, and about 1570 Hilliard became miniature painter to Queen Elizabeth I. He made many portraits of the queen and of leading members of her court and his work continued under James I. Hilliard was also a skilled goldsmith and jeweller. In his Treatise on the Arte of Limning (c. 1600) Hilliard describes his method, confesses his inspirations to Hans Holbein the Younger, a German portraitist working in England and reveals some features of his mercurial and engaging temperament. His son Laurence (c. 1582–1640) also practised miniature painting.

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