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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: Wounded Art


Portrait of a Woman

Nicholas Hilliard (British, Exeter ca. 1547–1619 London)

Oval, 1 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (47 x 39 mm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1935
Accession Number:
  • Catalogue Entry


  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Dated (left edge, in gold): .:1597:.

  • Provenance

    J. Pierpont Morgan, London (by 1906–d. 1913; cat., vol. 1, 1906, no. 25); his son, J. P. Morgan, New York (1913–35; his sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 1935, no. 102, as "Portrait of a Lady (said to be Catherine Charlotte de la Tremoille, Princesse de Condé)," to Knoedler for MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    London. Victoria and Albert Museum. "Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver," May 27–July 31, 1947, no. 65 (as "An Unknown Lady").

    Edinburgh. Scottish Arts Council Gallery. "A Kind of Gentle Painting," August 16–September 14, 1975, no. 22 (as "Portrait of a Lady").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 9.

  • References

    G[eorge]. C. Williamson. "Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan's Pictures: The Early Miniatures, I." Connoisseur 16 (December 1906), p. 207, no. XII, ill. p. 205, identifies the sitter as Gabrielle d'Estrées.

    G[eorge]. C. Williamson. Catalogue of the Collection of Miniatures, the Property of J. Pierpont Morgan. 1, [deluxe edition]. London, 1906, p. 33, no. 25, pl. XVI, no. 1, attributes it to Hilliard; rejects the identification of the sitter as Queen Elizabeth; calls her French and states that Hilliard probably painted her during his residence in France; tentatively identifies her as Catherine Charlotte de La Trémoille, princesse de Condé, relating the work to three drawings depicting that sitter.

    Harry B. Wehle. "Four Famous Miniatures." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 30 (October 1935), pp. 187–88, ill. on cover, supports the identification of the sitter as the princesse de Condé.

    Graham Reynolds. Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver. Exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 1947, p. 32, no. 65, doubts the identification of the sitter as the princesse de Condé.

    Erna Auerbach. Nicholas Hilliard. London, 1961, pp. 133, 305, no. 103, pl. 103, states that the sitter's identity cannot be established.

    Graham Reynolds. Nicholas Hilliard & Isaac Oliver. 2nd ed. London, 1971, unpaginated, no. 65, ill.

    Graham Reynolds with the assistance of Katharine Baetjer. European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, pp. 10–12, 72–73, no. 9, colorpl. 9 and ill. p. 73, call it a portrait of an unidentified lady of the Elizabethan court.

    Katharine Baetjer. "British Portraits in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Summer 1999), p. 8, ill. (color).

  • Notes

    The frame set with thirty-one diamonds is a later addition.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History