Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver

National Portrait Gallery, London


Portrait miniatures (then known as ‘limnings’) were the pinnacle of English painting in the 16th and early 17th centuries; they were prized by the aristocracy as diplomatic gifts, expressions of loyalty to the monarch, and often love tokens. This exhibition focuses on the two most brilliant exponents of the craft, Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver, whose refined depictions of courtiers and of the monarchy bring us face to face with Elizabethan and Jacobean society in miniature. Find out more from the National Portrait Gallery’s website. 

Preview the exhibition below | See Apollo’s Picks of the Week here

Self-Portrait, Hilliard

Self-Portrait (1577), Nicholas Hilliard. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Self-Portrait, Isaac Oliver

Self-Portrait (c. 1590), Isaac Oliver. National Portrait Gallery, London

Francis Bacon, later Baron Verulam and Viscount St Alban, Hilliard

Francis Bacon, later Baron Verulam and Viscount St Alban (1578), Nicholas Hilliard. National Portrait Gallery, London

The Browne Brothers, Isaac Oliver

The Browne Brothers (1598), Isaac Oliver. Burghley House Collections, Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire

Event website