Nicholas Hilliard


Nicholas Hilliard, ‘Queen Elizabeth I’ c.1575
Queen Elizabeth I c.1575
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Nicholas Hilliard (c. 1547 – 7 January 1619) was an English goldsmith and limner best known for his portrait miniatures of members of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I of England. He mostly painted small oval miniatures, but also some larger cabinet miniatures, up to about ten inches tall, and at least two famous half-length panel portraits of Elizabeth. He enjoyed continuing success as an artist, and continuing financial troubles, for forty-five years. His paintings still exemplify the visual image of Elizabethan England, very different from that of most of Europe in the late sixteenth century. Technically he was very conservative by European standards, but his paintings are superbly executed and have a freshness and charm that has ensured his continuing reputation as "the central artistic figure of the Elizabethan age, the only English painter whose work reflects, in its delicate microcosm, the world of Shakespeare's earlier plays."

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Attributed to Nicholas Hilliard Queen Elizabeth I



Art Term


Court painters were artists employed by royal courts to paint portraits of the royal family and their courtiers

Art Term


Elizabethan refers to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from 1558 to 1603 which saw a flowering of the arts ...

Tate Etc

Half woman, half goddess: Nicholas Hilliard's 'Queen Elizabeth I'

Antonia Fraser

There are many portraits of Elizabeth I, but few reflect her image as steely icon as perfectly as the one ...

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