Sir Christopher Hatton thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Bags: Inside Out, Room 40

Sir Christopher Hatton

Portrait Miniature
1588-1591 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This miniature was a rare experiment by Hilliard of a full-length miniature on a minute scale. Hilliard was attempting to challenge his former pupil and rival Isaac Oliver. Unfortunately, it reveals Hilliard's ignorance of Renaissance laws of perspective since the lines of the table and window go impossibly in opposite directions to and from the vanishing point. Hilliard seems as uncomfortable with this format as Hatton does, the whole effect being unfortunately cramped and squat. It was clearly an unsuccessful format and was quickly abandoned.

People
Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor, rose rapidly in the Queen's favour, having first been Captain of the Guard in 1572. In this miniature he is shown wearing his robes of state and, as a Knight of the Order of the Garter, both its collar and on his left leg the garter itself. His ceremonial mace and seal bag are on the table to his right.

Ownership & Use
The dog at Hatton's feet was probably intended as a symbol of loyalty and it is possible that this miniature was intended for the Queen. Hatton in his youth was famed for his good looks and was one of the Queen's favourites. In old age she remained as devoted to her servant as he was to her.
read Burse for Queen Elizabeth I's Great Seal Throughout history, bags have been made both for practical use and also valued as symbolic devices. Their design or decoration can often reveal something about the wearer, whether it be their profession, their aspirations or social status. Like many bags today, such as backpacks or briefca...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on vellum stuck to a playing card. The backing card has the four clubs printed on it.
Brief Description
Portrait miniature of Sir Christopher Hatton, watercolour on vellum, painted by Nicholas Hilliard, 1588-1591.
Physical Description
Portrait miniature in an oval frame of a man standing, depicted full-length; at the top of the frame are two loops and a flower.
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 8.5cm
  • Framed width: 5.5cm
  • Sight height: 5.6cm
  • Sight width: 4.4cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 31/05/2000 by KB
Styles
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Nicholas Hilliard and Miniature Painting
Nicholas Hilliard trained as a goldsmith and developed painting techniques that exploited this training. He used metallic pigments to mimic the jewellery on the opulent clothes that were fashionable. Hilliard created the image of Elizabeth and her courtiers that we know today, but he never won a salaried position at court. He had to set up shop in the City of London. From there he painted anyone who could afford his services.

Christopher Hatton (1540-1591) was a favourite of Elizabeth I. Favourites such as Hatton and Robert Dudley were etablished political leaders. Hatton, as Lord Chancellor, chose to be painted by Hilliard in his robes of state.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Bequeathed by George Salting
Object history
COLLECTIONS: Either this or the version at Belvoir Castle, Stowe sale March 15th 1849 (lot 87); J. L. Propert Collection; purchased by Salting at the dispersal of his collection by the Fine Art Society, 1897; bequeathed with the Salting Bequest, 1910.

Production
Hatton was made a Knight of the Garter in 1588 and died in 1591. In the miniature he is depicted wearing a chain with a pendant of St. George, so the miniature must have been painted at some point between these two dates.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
This miniature was a rare experiment by Hilliard of a full-length miniature on a minute scale. Hilliard was attempting to challenge his former pupil and rival Isaac Oliver. Unfortunately, it reveals Hilliard's ignorance of Renaissance laws of perspective since the lines of the table and window go impossibly in opposite directions to and from the vanishing point. Hilliard seems as uncomfortable with this format as Hatton does, the whole effect being unfortunately cramped and squat. It was clearly an unsuccessful format and was quickly abandoned.

People
Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor, rose rapidly in the Queen's favour, having first been Captain of the Guard in 1572. In this miniature he is shown wearing his robes of state and, as a Knight of the Order of the Garter, both its collar and on his left leg the garter itself. His ceremonial mace and seal bag are on the table to his right.

Ownership & Use
The dog at Hatton's feet was probably intended as a symbol of loyalty and it is possible that this miniature was intended for the Queen. Hatton in his youth was famed for his good looks and was one of the Queen's favourites. In old age she remained as devoted to her servant as he was to her.
Bibliographic References
  • Strong, Roy. Artists of the Tudor Court: the Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620.. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983. Cat.89, pp. 78-79. Part Citation: Vellum stuck to a playing card with four clubs showing at the reverse. Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-91), Lord Chancellor, rose rapidly in the Queen’s favour, became Captain of the Guard, 1572, vice-Chamberlain, 1578, High Steward of Cambridge University, 1588, and Lord Chancellor, 1587-91. Hilliard’s miniature of Hatton must have been painted between 1588, the year he was made K. G., the collar which he wears, and his death. He wears the robes of Lord Chancellor which he became in 1587 and on the table to the left is the Chancellor’s mace and seal bag. Hatton was famed for his good looks and Naunton refers to him as being “tall and proportionable” (Fragmenta Regalia, 1808 ed., p. 248). There is an important reference to Hatton in Hilliard’s Treatise which should relate to this sitting. It occurs in his discussion of Dürer’s theory of proportion in relation to the face: “Therefore I will be bold to remember me of one, namely Sir Christopher Hatton, sometime Lord Chancellor of England, a man generally known and respected of all men amongst the best favours, and held to be one of the goodliest personages of England: yet had he a very low forehead, not answerable to that good proportion of a third part of his face. This version is the ad vivum version while at Bevloir Castle there is a replica. In the latter the sun is shining through the window and there is a fireplace to the right. The overall height of the figure in the Belvoir version is just under two inches. In the case of the V&A’s version, 2 3/16 inches."
  • PP. 80-1Catharine MacLeod with Rab MacGibbon, Victoria Button, Katherine Coombs and Alan Derbyshire.‎ Elizabethan treasures : miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver. London : National Portrait Gallery, 2019.‎ ISBN: 9781855147027‎
Collection
Accession Number
P.138-1910

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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