Lot 5
  • 5

NICHOLAS HILLIARD | Portrait of a young gentleman, circa 1600

30,000 - 40,000 GBP
75,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Hilliard
  • Portrait of a young gentleman, circa 1600
  • Watercolour and bodycolour, heightened with gold and silver paint on vellum, laid on card, silver frame with scroll surmount, foliate engraved reverse
  • 48 by 40 mm.


Sir Sidney Patrick Shelley, 8th Bt. (1880-1965),
his sale, London, Christie’s, 9 November 1965, lot 89;
Robert Lane Bayne-Powell (1910-1994);
his executor's sale, London, Sotheby’s, 11 October 1994, lot 34


Edinburgh, 1975, no. 75


Foskett, 1972, vol. II, p. 51, no. 410, pl. 160

Catalogue Note

The sitter was formerly identified as the poet Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86), however a comparison with accepted portraits of Sidney exclude this possibility. Further, the details of his costume indicate a date of execution after the poet’s death. The sensitive delineation of the young man’s features, and the use of the apparently unique form of the inverted heart reverse, render the miniature a pictorial parallel of the melancholic humour explored by poets of the period. 

A portrait by Isaac Oliver of Ludovic Stuart, 1st Duke of Richmond and 2nd Duke of Lennox (1574-1624), of equally unusual inverted drop shape, is in the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 3063). Interestingly this miniature is depicted in a portrait of the Duke’s widow, Frances Howard, painted circa 1624, in the collection of the Marquess of Bath, Longleat.1

1. Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, Secret Passion to Noble Fashion: The World of the Portrait Miniature, Bath, 1999, p. 19, fig. 4