Nicholas Hilliard

Nicholas Hilliard

Birth
Exeter, City of Exeter, Devon, England
Death 7 Jan 1619 (aged 71–72)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot unmarked
Memorial ID 12092484 · View Source
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Artist. Said to have been the son of Richard Hilliard of Exeter, high sheriff of the city and county. He was apprenticed as a goldsmith and jeweler, and began painting miniatures as a child, he is credited with painting the first known self-portrait at the age of 13. In 1570 he was appointed limner, or miniaturist, and goldsmith to Elizabeth I. In that capacity he was responsible for engraving the Great Seal of England. He visited France, apparently in order to further his art, and is the artist alluded to in the papers of the duc d'Alençon under the name of "Nicholas Belliart, peintre anglois" who received a stipend of 200 livres. A 1577 miniature of Mademoiselle de Sourdis, a maid of honor at the French Court, is certainly the work of Hilliard; other examples of his work from the period are believed to represent Gabrielle d'Estres, niece of Madame de Sourclis, the princesse de Condé and Madame de Montgomery. He remained in favor during the reign of James I, and from the king received a special patent of appointment, dated May 5, 1617, which granted him a sole license for royal work for twelve years. He is believed to have been the author of an important treatise on miniature painting, now preserved in the Bodleian Library, but it seems more probable that the author of that treatise was John de Crita, Serjeant Painter to James I. It is likely, however, that the treatise was based on Hilliard's instructions. The esteem of his contemporaries for Hilliard is testified to by Dr Donne, who in a poem called 'The Storm' (1597) praised his work. He died about age 71, and was buried in St Martins-in-the-Fields, Westminster, leaving by his will twenty shillings to the poor of the parish, thirty to be divided between his two sisters, some goods to his maidservant, and the remainder of his estate to his son, Lawrence Hilliard.

Bio by: Mark McManus


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mark McManus
  • Added: 18 Oct 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12092484
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Nicholas Hilliard (c.1547–7 Jan 1619), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12092484, citing St Martin-in-the-Fields Churchyard, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .