Elizabethan Miniatures

With his characteristic reference of individual to type, Powell elaborates his evocation of Stringham, moving directly from Veronese to the style of Elizabethan miniatures: “His features certainly seemed to belong to that epoch of painting:  the faces in Elizabethan miniatures, lively, obstinate, generous, not very happy, and quite relentless.” (QU 4/12)

Portrait of an Unknown Man

Nicholas Hilliard
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Photo from the Yorck Project

This portrait by Nicolas Hilliard, one of the most accomplished English miniaturists of the Elizabethan period, exemplifies the attributes Powell connects to Stringham’s type.  The vivid enlargement of the digital reproduction belies the portrait’s actual size, barely two and a half inches tall.  Miniatures such as this, typically painted with watercolor on vellum mounted on card, served the purpose in the Renaissance that wallet-sized photos of loved ones do today.

 

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