Hilliard, Nicholas


Hilliard, Nicholas
born 1547, Exeter, Eng.
died Jan. 7, 1619, London

British painter.

The son of a goldsmith, he trained as a jeweler and began painting miniatures in his youth. In 1570 he was appointed miniature painter to Elizabeth I. He produced many portraits of her and of such members of her court as Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. He retained his appointment on the accession of James I (1603), while also practicing as a goldsmith and jeweler. The first great native-born English painter of the Renaissance, he raised the art of miniature painting to its highest point of development and influenced English portraiture through the early 17th century.

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▪ English painter
born 1547, Exeter, Devon, Eng.
died Jan. 7, 1619, London
 the first great native-born English painter of the Renaissance. His lyrical portraits raised the art of painting miniature portraiture (limning in Elizabethan England) to its highest point of development and did much to formulate the concept of portraiture there during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

      Hilliard's earliest known attempts at miniature painting were made in 1560. Hilliard became miniature painter to Queen Elizabeth I about 1570 and made many portraits of her and of the leading members of her court. He paid a short visit to France in the service of the Duc d'Alençon but returned early in 1578 because his wife was expecting a child.

      Throughout his life Hilliard practiced as goldsmith and jeweller as well as miniaturist, and in 1584 he designed Queen Elizabeth's second great seal. On the accession of James I, in 1603, his appointment as limner to the crown was continued, but he seems to have found the atmosphere of the new court less congenial to his art.

      In his Treatise on the Arte of Limning (c. 1600) he gives an account of his method and many sidelights on his own mercurial and engaging temperament. Throughout his life he had financial difficulties and was imprisoned for debt for a short period in 1617. In the book he also states that his art is derived from that of the painter Hans Holbein (Holbein, Hans, the Younger) the Younger, a German portraitist working in England, whose influence doubtless accounts for Hilliard's preference for even, nondramatic lighting and firm contours, as seen in the miniatures “An Unknown Youth Leaning Against a Tree Among Roses” and “An Unknown Man Against a Background of Flames” (both in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London).

      Nicholas Hilliard's son Laurence (c. 1582–1640) also practiced miniature painting, but a much more eminent pupil was Isaac Oliver (Oliver, Isaac) (q.v.).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • HILLIARD, Nicholas — (c. 1547 1619) Nicholas Hilliard, the son of an Exeter goldsmith, was the first native born English painter to achieve prominence in the field of portraiture, and in particular the portrait miniature. Hilliard became painter and goldsmith to… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Hilliard, Nicholas — (1547 1619)    English goldsmith and painter of miniatures. As a client of the wealthy Protestant merchant John Bodley, he fled to Geneva during the Catholic restoration under Queen Mary I (1553 1558). Under her Protestant successor, Elizabeth I …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Hilliard,Nicholas — Hil·liard (hĭlʹyərd), Nicholas. 1547 1619. English painter who founded a school of miniature painting under the patronage of Elizabeth I and James I. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hilliard, Nicholas — (1547, Exeter, Inglaterra–7 ene. 1619, Londres). Pintor británico. Hijo de un orfebre, se formó como joyero y comenzó a pintar miniaturas en su juventud. En 1570 fue nombrado pintor de miniaturas para la reina Isabel I. Pintó muchos retratos de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Nicholas Hilliard — Self portrait, 1577 Born c. 1547 Died 1619 (aged 71–72) London …   Wikipedia

  • Nicholas Hilliard — Autorretrato, 1577 Nacimiento h. 1547 Fallecimiento 1619 Londr …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hilliard-Ensemble — Nicholas Hilliard, Selbstporträt von 1577 Das Hilliard Ensemble ist ein britisches Vokalensemble. Es wurde 1974 gegründet und hat sich nach dem englischen Miniaturenmaler Nicholas Hilliard benannt. Schon bald galt es als eines der besten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hilliard Ensemble — Nicholas Hilliard, Selbstporträt von 1577 Das Hilliard Ensemble ist ein britisches Vokalensemble. Es wurde 1974 gegründet und hat sich nach dem englischen Miniaturenmaler Nicholas Hilliard benannt. Schon bald galt es als eines der besten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nicholas Hilliard — [Nicholas Hilliard] (1547–1619) an English painter best known for his ↑miniatures (= very small pictures of people) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Nicholas — /nik euh leuhs, nik leuhs/, n. 1. of Cusa /kyooh zeuh/, 1401 1464, German cardinal, mathematician, and philosopher. German, Nikolaus von Cusa. 2. Grand Duke, 1856 1929, Russian general in World War I. 3. Saint, fl. 4th century A.D., bishop in… …   Universalium


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