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Miniature - Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
  • Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales
    Oliver, Isaac, born 1558 - died 1617
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Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales

  • Object:


  • Date:

    ca. 1612 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Oliver, Isaac, born 1558 - died 1617 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum, with frame of ebony on oak

  • Credit Line:

    The Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 6

Object Type
After the childless Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603), James I (ruled 1603-1625) offered the nation a hopeful dynastic future. He had a young family: Prince Henry (1594-1612), who was his heir, Prince Charles (1600-1649) and Princess Elizabeth (1596-1662). James embraced portraiture as a way to promote the new Stuart dynasty. During this reign, there was a massive proliferation of miniature portraits of members of the Royal Family.

Prince Henry was nine years of age in 1603, when his father inherited the English throne. In 1610, aged 16, this dynamic young man was invested as Prince of Wales. He had his own revenues, household and palaces The Prince died, however, on 6 November 1612, at the young age of 18. In this portrait Henry wears the blue ribbon of the Order of the Garter. An English order of knighthood, the Garter traditionally comprises the Sovereign and 25 Knights Companions.

Henry established his own household when he became Prince of Wales in 1610. Nicholas Hilliard (possibly born in 1547, died 1619) had painted him when he was a boy, but he now employed Isaac Oliver (born about 1558, died 1617). Oliver presented him as a dynamic young man, not as a boy . This miniature is a version of a miniature painted in 1612, just before Henry died. However, it is difficult to date miniatures of Henry since many must have been manufactured as mementos after his death.


ca. 1612 (made)


Oliver, Isaac, born 1558 - died 1617 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum, with frame of ebony on oak


Height: 27.5 cm frame, Width: 19.4 cm frame, Depth: 2.7 cm frame

Object history note

Probably painted by Isaac Oliver

Descriptive line

Henry, Prince of Wales

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Probably framed together 1625-1650

James I's young family, celebrated in this group of miniatures, offered hope of a secure dynasty. Prince Henry, James I's elder son, was a noted patron of artists, who died suddenly aged 18. Miniatures were given as personal gifts and were small enough to be worn to mark a courtier's loyalty. [27/03/2003]




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