Nicholas Hilliard (British, ca. 1547–1619)
Vellum laid on card
Oval, 1 x 7/8 in. (27 x 22 mm)
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.311)
This miniature was received by the Metropolitan Museum as a portrait of Elizabeth I (r. 15581603) by the school of Nicholas Hilliard. Scholarship has discovered that it is not in fact a portrait of Elizabeth I, but that of an unidentified sitter. However, the miniature has been proven to be an authentic work by Hilliard, painted with much refinement on the small scale he increasingly used throughout the 1590s. The reduced shadow of the sitter's face and delicate portrayal of the clothing and jewels, completed with an extraordinary attention to detail, are stylistic hallmarks of Hilliard's work.