Artist: Nicholas Hilliard (British, Exeter ca. 1547–1619 London)
Date: ca. 1590
Medium: Vellum laid on card
Dimensions: Oval, 1 x 7/8 in. (27 x 22 mm)
Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number: 32.100.311
This miniature was received by the Metropolitan Museum as a portrait of Elizabeth I (r. 1558–1603) 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.