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Portrait Miniature - Portrait of an unknown woman

Portrait of an unknown woman

  • Object:

    Portrait Miniature

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1585-1590 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hilliard, Nicholas (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum stuck to a playing card

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Physical description

Portrait miniature of a young woman, oval, head and shoulders; there is a queen printed on the reverse of the backing sheet.

Place of Origin

England (probably, painted)


1585-1590 (painted)


Hilliard, Nicholas (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum stuck to a playing card


Height: 46 mm, Width: 39 mm

Object history note

Provenance: This and no. 93 [P.3-1974] are the two earliest in date of a group of five miniatures that were acquired from the Earl of Radnor in 1974. The documentation on their history was first published by W. B. Squire and the Countess of Radnor in the catalogue of the collection at Longford Castle published in 1909. They came with a memorandum listing other items, most now untraceable, on August 2nd 1796 when they were purchased by the 2nd Earl of Radnor from a Mrs Anne Lewis for £52.10s.

Descriptive line

Portrait miniature of an unknown woman, ca. 1585-1590, watercolour on vellum, painted by Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619).

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
About 1585-90

Watercolour on vellum, stuck to a playing card
Purchased from the Earl of Radnor with the aid of a special Treasury Grant
Museum no. P.2-1974 []


Card; Watercolour; Vellum



Subjects depicted

Ruff; Woman; Earring; Pearls


Portraits; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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