Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

An Unknown Woman

  • Object:

    Portrait miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, painted)
    France (possibly, painted)

  • Date:

    1576 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hilliard, Nicholas (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum stuck to a plain card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Portrait Miniatures, Room 90a, The International Music and Art Foundation Gallery, case 2

Physical description

Portrait of a woman, head and shoulders, looking to front and wearing a black dress, ruff and a veil at the back of her head; inscriptions in gold on either side on a blue background.

Place of Origin

England (possibly, painted)
France (possibly, painted)


1576 (painted)


Hilliard, Nicholas (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum stuck to a plain card

Marks and inscriptions

'Ano Ani 1576 . AEtatis Suae. 31'
Inscribed on either side of the head:


Diameter: 37 mm

Object history note

Provenance: With S. J. Phillips, London; sold from the collection of the late Greta S. Heckett, Sotheby’s 5th November 1577 (lot 122).

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of an unknown woman, watercolour on vellum, painted by Nicholas Hilliard, 1576.

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

Strong, Roy. Artists of the Tudor Court: the Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620.. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983.

Labels and date

Nicholas Hilliard 1547-1619
Unknown Woman
Dated 1576

Watercolour on vellum, stuck to pasteboard
Inscribed either side of the head in Latin 'Year of Our Lord 1576 / At the age of 31'
Museum no. P.27-1977 []

Production Note

Hilliard travelled to France in July 1576, so it is possible that the portrait was painted there.


Watercolour; Vellum



Subjects depicted

Woman; Ruff; Veil


Portraits; Paintings


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.