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Johnson, born in London in 1593 to a German/Flemish immigrant family, became an extremely prolific portraitist, working on every scale, including painting full-length groups. Unlike other miniaturists in England, who worked in watercolour on vellum, Johnson executed his miniatures in oil paint on metal (see cabinet 1: The Portrait Miniature in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries). This unidentified lady is dressed in the height of fashion. She wears a big collar of very expensive lace, which Johnson has painted with a miniaturist's attention to detail.

September 2004