Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver
'a glittering who's who showcasing the Elizabethan court at its most intimate and exotic' - V&A Magazine
In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries there was one art form in which English artists excelled above all their continental European counterparts: the painting of miniatures. This fascinating book, which accompanies an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, explores the genre with special reference to two of its most accomplished practitioners, Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) and Isaac Olive (c .1565-1617), whose astounding skill brought them international fame and admiration.
In addition to exhibiting the exquisite technique of the artists, portrait miniatures express in a unique way many of the most distinctive and fascinating aspects of court life in this period: ostentatious secrecy, games of courtly love, arcane symbolism, a love of intricacy and decoration. Bedecked in elaborate lace, encrusted in jewellery and sprinkled with flowers, court ladies smile enigmatically at the viewer; their male counterparts rest on grassy banks or lean against trees, sighing over thwarted love, or more modestly express their hopes in Latin epigrams inscribed around their heads. Often set in richly enamelled and jewelled gold lockets, or beautifully turned ivory or ebony boxes, such miniatures could be concealed or revealed, exchanged or kept, as part of elaborate processes of friendship, love, patronage and diplomacy.
Compelling and well-researched introductory essays discuss methods of production, acquisition, reception and Hilliard and Oliver's different careers.
- Author: Catharine MacLeod
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Date published: February 2019
- Language: English
- ISBN: 978-1855147027
- Product Dimensions: 27.0 x 18.0 cm