Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Portrait miniature - Lady Dorothy Percy, subsequently Countess of Leicester
  • Lady Dorothy Percy, subsequently Countess of Leicester
    Hoskins, John I
  • Enlarge image

Lady Dorothy Percy, subsequently Countess of Leicester

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    ca.1638 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hoskins, John I (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum, mounted on card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Portrait, head and shoulders, turned a little to left and looking to front; the sitter is wearing a necklace of pearls and a low-cut dress. Features delicately stippled and hatched in brown and sanguine with some blue and grey and some white heightening (but see Condition), on a pale carnation ground; hair in a very transparent pale brown wash, hatched over with darker colour and touches of blue-grey; dress in black wash, the lights in pale grey; the jewel picked out in brown and grey with highlights in gold; the pearl in brown wash with a grey and white highlight; background in a solid blue wash, shaded darker to the left and low down; traces of a gold marginal strip; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.

Frame: The miniature is directly attached to its old, nearly flat bevelled glass and fitted as the centrepiece of the first of two vitrines containing the so-called Leicester House miniatures. The vitrines appear to be constructed in two parts, of possibly different dates. The inner and apparently earlier is a short plank of fruitwood, ebonised on the front, into which oval and circular complex bolection mouldings, cut from a fine-grained ebonised fruitwood, are set, thus providing a rebate for the miniatures. The outer part is a deep picture frame of fruitwood stained dark brown, with a glazed rebate into which the inner part fits. Miniatures in both sets are labelled with apparently late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century inscriptions on the inner part and carry number labels from South Kensington 1865.The backs of the outer part have been built out with hinged shutters and fitted with brass furniture of the late nineteenth or twentieth century. This work was probably ordered by Lewis, lst Viscount Harcourt (see below), who is recorded on two of the individual object labels (Due d'Alencon and Lord Burghley) as having added them to the set in 1907 and 1911 respectively. The vitrines, and miniatures from both sets, have been conserved; in some instances, such as the Mary Sidney, I they have been heavily restored. This may have been under the aegis of Joseph Duveen, from whom there was a note, which was still preserved in one of the vitrines when they were inspected by the present cataloguer in 1980. Lewis Harcourt's active curatorship of the sets would relate to the fact that he was a trustee of the British Museum, the NPG and the Wallace Collection and was a founder and trustee also of the Museum of London.

Place of Origin

England (painted)


ca.1638 (painted)


Hoskins, John I (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum, mounted on card

Marks and inscriptions

'Dorothy /Percy. [underlined with a flourish ] /now/ Countess of Leycest[ er]'
Inscribed on the back in a seventeenth-century hand in ink

Also inscribed in a later hand in ink above, also the number 3 in graphite, and in the lower part of the oval the number 1712

'Lady /Dorothy /Percy / Countess of Leicester.'
The inner part of the vitrine bears a label written in ink in an eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century hand


Height: 56 mm, Width: 44 mm

Object history note

This miniature is one of tem by various artists acquired as a group and displayed in two frames. Nine of these miniatures are in the V&A collection, E.1170-1178-1988. The tenth miniature by Nicholas Hilliard of the poet Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke is now held by the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of Lady Dorothy Percy, subsequently Countess of Leicester, watercolour on vellum, painted by John Hoskins, ca. 1638.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strong, Roy, "The Leicester House Miniatures: Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester and his circle", Burlington Magazine CXXVII, October 1988, p. 697.
Murdoch, John. Seventeenth-century English Miniatures in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997.


Watercolour; Vellum



Subjects depicted

Pearls; Woman


Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.