Nicholas Hilliard was England’s first English artist to become internationally famous. His self portrait (© Victoria & Albert Museum, London) is a mere 41mm in diameter (1.6 inches) and it is for these exquisitely delicate and miniature images of Elizabeth I and her court that he becomes famous. I fell in love with Hilliard’s miniatures… Continue reading Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) & Isaac Oliver (1565-1617): Painters to the Elizabethan and Jacobean courts
Some years ago I was asked to mentor a new researcher into Tudor history, Heather Darsie, who was researching a new biography of Anna, Duchess of Cleves - Henry VIII's fourth wife. You would have thought that over the years the various historians specialising in Tudor history had drained this particular pot dry. However, this… Continue reading Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s Beloved Sister
This article focuses on those who created the portrait miniatures from the mid 1520s until 1603 and how, thanks to the talents of the artists employed at the Tudor court, we are able to identify some aristocratic sitters of the 16th century. Links to images and articles are in bold italics. Portraits of the aspiring… Continue reading Illuminators of the Tudor Court
In case you missed it, this article first appeared on http://www.queenanneboleyn.com in July 2018 in commemoration of the execution of Thomas Cromwell on 28th July 1540. Today we are used to seeing the English royals on TV, in photos on social media, and on the front of our newspapers. Back in the 16th century the royal… Continue reading Thomas Cromwell (1495-1540): Creator of the “Tudor Brand”
The dawn of the sixteenth century saw the portrait being used more widely for self-promotional purposes thanks to one man - Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Albrecht Dürer sketched himself from the from the age of thirteen and as an adult, completing at least three individual self-portraits during his lifetime. The very first of these was a silverpoint… Continue reading Albrecht Dürer : The Master of self-promotion
The portrait of Elizabeth I known as the Armada Portrait was saved for the nation thanks to contributions from a generous public and a huge donation from the Art Fund. It has now been fully restored and hangs in The Queen’s House, Greenwich. It is one of three portraits that clearly derive from the same… Continue reading The Armada Portrait Reconsidered.
On International Women's Day I am asking you to consider the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), wife of the British Ambassador to Turkey 1716-18, medical pioneer, adventurer and prolific letter writer. After their time in Constantinople the Wortley Montagu's returned to England, but left England again in 1739, not returning until the 1760s.… Continue reading A Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the NPG, London.