Portrait of an Elizabethan Court Lady (formerly thought to be Elizabeth I)

Nicholas Hilliardc. 1590

New Orleans Museum of Art

New Orleans Museum of Art
New Orleans, United States

Nicholas Hilliard, considered the first notable English portrait miniature artist, is credited for some of the greatest artworks produced in the British Isles. Hilliard was appointed official portrait painter to Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603).

During the politically fraught Elizabethan years, the Queen’s wealthy subjects wore miniatures of the monarch as a sign of loyalty.

Nicholas Hilliard trained as a goldsmith and developed special techniques for painting elaborate court jewels like the magnificent necklaces worn by this Elizabethan Lady.

The artist wrote A Treatise Concerning the Arte of Limning (c. 1600) that detailed the preparation of materials and tools in the refined art of portrait miniatures.


  • Title: Portrait of an Elizabethan Court Lady (formerly thought to be Elizabeth I)
  • Creator: Nicholas Hilliard
  • Creator Lifespan: 1547-1619
  • Creator Nationality: English
  • Date Created: c. 1590
  • Location Created: England
  • Physical Dimensions: oval: 2 3/16 x 1 13/16 in.
  • Type: Portrait Miniatures
  • Medium: Watercolor on parchment applied to card
  • Credit Line: The Latter-Schlesinger Collection, Gift of Shirley Latter Kaufmann in memory of Harry and Anna Latter
  • Accession Number: 74.337

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