Lot 150
  • 150

Nicholas Hilliard

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nicholas Hilliard
  • Portrait of Marguerite of Valois (1553-1615), Queen of Navarre and later Queen of France
  • Watercolour and bodycolour, heightened with silver and gold, on vellum, laid down on card;
    inscribed upper left: Ano Dm. 1577, enamel frame, decorated with pearls
  • 57 by 45 mm


C.H.T. Hawkins, Bignor Park (1820-1903);
sale, London, Christie's, 16 May 1904, lot 1050 (as Possibly Madame de Sourdis);
with Joseph Duveen, 1st Baron Duveen (1869-1939);
by whom sold to John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913);
sale, London, Christie's, 24 June 1935, lot 101 (as Mademoiselle de Sourdis), bt. Dr Beets;
Dr Beets;
Frederick Muller, Amsterdam, by 1940;
Dr. Anton F. Philips;
sale, London, Christie's, 21 October 1997, lot 28,
where acquired by Bernadette and William M.B. Berger, Denver, Colorado


London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Artists of the Tudor Court, 1983, no. 74, p. 70


G.C. Williamson, Catalogue of the Collection of Miniatures, The Property of J. Pierpont Morgan, London 1906, vol. I, pp. 25-26, 31-32, no. 23, pl. XVI, no. 2 (as Mademoiselle de Sourdis);
G.C. Williamson, 'Mr. Pierpont Morgan's Pictures, The Early Miniatures,' The Connoisseur, December 1906, vol. XVI, pp. 205, 207, no. XI, repr. (as Mademoiselle de Sourdis);
E. Auerbach, Nicholas Hilliard, London 1961, p. 293. no. 34 (as Mademoiselle de Sourdis);
R. Strong, The English Renaissance Miniature, London 1983, pp. 77, pp. 79, 201, fig. 87

Catalogue Note

This miniature was painted by Hilliard in 1577, in the middle of his three year stay in France. Previously, the sitter has been called 'Mademoiselle de Sourdis', however, this idea has been discredited and scholars agree that the sitter's 'features are without doubt those of Marguerite de Valois.'1

Hilliard had gone aboard with his young wife, Alice Brandon, in order to 'obtain money and knowledge' and he was able to establish himself at the court of Francois, Duc d'Alençon.2 In the summer of 1577, the duke and his retinue, including the Hilliards, travelled south to Poitiers and it is thought that they also visited, Marguerite, the duke's sister, who was at this time ruling over the court of Navarre at Béarn.

Marguerite de Valois was the daughter of Henri II, King of France and Catherine de' Medici. In 1572 she married her second cousin, Henri of Navarre, who was crowned King of France in 1589. Famed for her beauty, she is one of the greatest figures of the period, a reputation that continues today thanks, in part, to Alexandre Dumas's novel La Reine Margot, which was published in 1845.

1. R. Strong, Artists of the Tudor Court, The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620, London 1983, p. 70
2. E. Auerbach, Nicholas Hilliard, London 1961, p. 11