Not currently on display at the V&A

Portrait of a lady in profile a l'antique

Miniature
ca. 1610 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Watercolour on vellum, stuck onto playing card with part of a black cypher. The miniature depicts an unknown woman in a l'antique profile, wearing a grey masquing costume, interlaced with black beads and white lace. Her bodice shows hints of red, green and gold. Her hair is dressed with strands of pearls tied in a bow and single jewels at the front of her head. She is set against a black background.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on vellum, mounted on card with part of a black cypher
Brief Description
Portrait miniature on vellum by a follower of Nicholas Hilliard, depicting a lady in profile a l'antique. Great Britain, ca. 1610.
Physical Description
Watercolour on vellum, stuck onto playing card with part of a black cypher. The miniature depicts an unknown woman in a l'antique profile, wearing a grey masquing costume, interlaced with black beads and white lace. Her bodice shows hints of red, green and gold. Her hair is dressed with strands of pearls tied in a bow and single jewels at the front of her head. She is set against a black background.
Dimensions
  • Sight size, oval height: 41mm
  • Sight size, oval width: 35mm
Sight size. Oval 41 x 35 mm
Object history
Item Provenance: The estate of the late Rt. Hon. Viscount Harcourt, K.C.M.G., O.B.E.



Exhibitions: Special Exhibition of Portrait Miniatures on loan at the South Kensington Museum, London, 1865. No.1713.



This miniature is one of ten by various artists acquired as a group and displayed in two frames. Nine of these miniatures are in the V&A collection, E.1170-1178-1988. The tenth miniature by Nicholas Hilliard of the poet Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke is now held by the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Production
Anonymous: ca. 1610
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Strong, Sir Roy, "The Leicester House Miniatures: Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester and his circle", Burlington Magazine CXXVII, p.698, Cat. No. VII, fig. 49.
  • The following in an excerpt from a valuation report made by Christie's of the estate of the late Rt. Hon. Viscount Harcourt, K. C. M. G., O. B. E. "An inscription on the reverse of the miniature states that the sitter is Queen Elizabeth. This, however, seems highly improbable, as the type of attire with elaborate dressing of the hair falling loosely onto the shoulders is typical of the early masques performed for Queen Anne. It is an important miniature in that masques for ladies were rare and none were done after 1613. The miniature may be compared with Isaac Oliver's portrait of Anne of Denmark in the costume for 'Masque of Beauty' (1608), or 'Love Freed' (1611). (See Auberach Hilliard, p. 249, pl. 217) and can be dated circa 1610. The brushwork is contemporary with Hilliard but lacks his and Oliver's finesse. It is, however, interesting, particularly in the use of the black background, being employed by Hilliard on only one occasion (see Roy Strong, 'The English Renaissance', p. 114, pl. 96) where it was used to signify constancy."
Collection
Accession Number
E.1173-1988

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record createdNovember 24, 2008
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