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Nicholas Hilliard (English Portrait Miniaturists) Hardcover – 5 Sep 2005

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Nicholas Hilliard (English Portrait Miniaturists) + Portrait Miniatures from the National Galleries of Scotland
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Unicorn Press Publishing Group; 1st edition (5 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0906290821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0906290828
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 1.4 x 16.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Karen Hearn is curator of Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Arts at the Tate Britain. She has written books on Marcus Gheeraerts II, Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630 and In Celebration: The Art of the Country House

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By chris on 21 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very nice book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The most important paintings and all in COLOR!!! 9 Aug. 2014
By Jane in Milwaukee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had no idea how important were these miniatures--and this particular miniaturist--until I started really delving into the art of Tudor times. I've always been a keen student of Tudor England, particularly interested in Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick, the nexus between the first two (Bess's husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, was Mary's hand-picked custodian for her entire time in England). Each of these giantesses of history has a common love of and rapacity for the gorgeous needlework of the day. We have some extant examples of the work of each of them and embroidery was a crucial element in each of their lives. For Mary, it was the one ray of sunshine during her many years of imprisonment. For Bess, it's the fact that she preserved all of her own works and textiles--including many of Mary's handwork--for posterity in her beloved New Hardwick Hall. For Elizabeth, we have records of her up to 3,000 dresses almost all of which were worth a fortune because of the actual gold and silver threads, pearls and gemstones sewn directly into them. Among the fantastical gifts her courtiers gave her every New Year were sets of sleeves that could be attached to bodices or kid gloves that were covered with such riches of stitching and materials that they laid to ruin the givers' finances.

The reason the above is relevant to this book is that one of the main elements Hilliard had to depict how high-born and important his subjects were was in the over-the-top clothing, collars and headgear which were swathed in intricate embroidery and bedecked in jewels. In fact, some of the paintings of particularly Elizabeth included actual jewels. And Hilliard not only painted but also designed--even made--some of the silver and other extraordinary casings and containers for the miniatures. Expert author Karen Hearn even recounts that it was first determined in 1908 that a gold medal currently found in the Fitzwilliam Museum was Hilliard's. It is less than 3" in diameter but the front has a magnificent bust of Elizabeth with glorious dress, crown, orb and scepter with a Latin inscription which translates: "No other circle in the whole world more rich." The obverse shows a little island protected by a bay tree (to ward off lightning) and surrounded by ships and sea creatures; its Latin words say, "Not even dangers affect it." This was struck in 1589, commemorating the defeat of the Armada the year before. Also, Hilliard's 1578/9 miniature of Mary Queen of Scots is the source of much of how we currently envision her and served as the basis for many a painting of her for years and years later.

The famous Marcus Gheeraerts II, the leading painter of normal-size portraits of the 1590's was greatly influenced by Hilliard. For example, they painted the extremely rare (think "Mona Lisa") smile on a subject. {However, you'll NEVER see a toothy grin on anyone in the 16th century since their teeth were normally black and rotting!) In a treatise, Hilliard wrote that it was important to catch "those [lovely] graces, [witty] smilings, and those [stolen] glances [which suddenly] like lightning [pass] and another Countenance taketh place....in [smiling]...the eye changeth and narroweth, houlding the sight [just] between the [lids] as a center, howe the mouth [a little] extendeth both ends of the line [upwards]....

It's charming that the miniature on the cover is a self-portrait of Nicholas Hilliard himself. So that's what the painter looked like!!

I highly recommend this book to any who likes to learn about the royalty and nobles of Elizabethan times, paintings, miniatures...or just likes to browse though an interesting but small book.
Well my GGF did ok 27 Jun. 2013
By shirley99961 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am related to Nicholas Hilliard and in the process of doing my family geneology I found him.
This is a very informative little book on the art of this period.
A great book.
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