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Portrait miniature - Unknown Woman, formerly called Princess Elizabeth
  • Unknown Woman, formerly called Princess Elizabeth
    Cooper, Samuel
  • Enlarge image

Unknown Woman, formerly called Princess Elizabeth

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1648 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cooper, Samuel (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book

  • Credit Line:

    Alan Evans Bequest, given by the National Gallery

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 5

Physical description

Portrait, head and shoulders, turned to left and looking to front; the sitter is wearing a pearl necklace. Features in sharp, wiry hatches of brown, with some sanguine and blue-grey shadow and white heightening in the eyes, over a pale carnation ground; hair in brown washes, lined in darker colour with some gouache heightening; dress in blue washes, modelled with darker colour and the lights in white; the red robe in very transparent gummy red; background in thick brown washes; on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book.

Frame: A made-up oval gold locket, the convex back of copper enamelled in colour with paeonies, tulips, carnations, lilies, etc., with leaves, on a black ground; the enamelling datable to c.1645 according to John Cooper, (1) but current on enamelled watch cases and in French ornament generally through the 1650s, 1660s and even later, according to Michael Snodin.(2) the sides are an added ring of plain rounded form, turning into bezels at the back and the front, and holding a facetted bevelled glass, which is possibly eighteenth-century; the hanger is a loop of inverted D-section (the flat side outward), soldered transversely to the top; inscribed on the back in ink 1787, corrected from 1777.

Place of Origin

England (painted)


ca. 1648 (painted)


Cooper, Samuel (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum put down on a leaf from a table-book

Marks and inscriptions

'Skippa[ ... ]'
. Inscribed on a laid-paper packing in the case, in ink, in an eighteenth century hand


Height: 42 mm, Width: 35 mm

Object history note

Provenance: Acquired by the Hon. F H A Wallop before 1927; lent to the V&A until 1949; given to Alan Evans, by whom bequeathed to the National Gallery, 1974; placed on indeterminate loan at the V&A. (See Appendix 3.)

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of an unknown woman, formerly called Princess Elizabeth, watercolour on vellum, painted by Samuel Cooper, ca.1648.

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

Murdoch, John. Seventeenth-century English Miniatures in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997.


Vellum; Watercolour



Subjects depicted

Necklace; Woman; Pearls


Portraits; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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