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A portrait miniature of a courtier, painted on vellum, circa 1605

£ 12,000

the blue background with gold border, set in the lid of a box

Laurence, the son of the limner Nicholas Hillard, began his apprenticeship circa 1597 and completed it in 1605. He worked for James I and Queen Anne of Denmark and inherited his father's appointment as limner to James I. It was from Laurence Hilliard that Charles I received the portrait of Queen Elizabeth now at The British Museum.

Laurence continued in office under Charles I, who acquired some of his father's works from him. Laurence's annuity stopped at the outbreak of the civil war in 1642, but the office remained nominally in being, and after the restoration of Charles II the portrait painter Sir Peter Lely succeeded him.
His eldest son, Brandon Hilliard (1612-1672), was forced to flee to France and the West Indies during the Commonwealth, and at the restoration of Charles II in 1660 he was among many petitioners seeking recompense for past unpaid royal service and subsequent hardships. Brandon said that his father and grandfather had served Charles II's father, grandfather, and ancestors as limners for eighty years, and that £600 was owing of Laurence's annuity.

Some of Laurence's miniatures, as evident here, show the blue background which are reminiscent of his father, Nicholas's work.

His portraits are rare.`
More Information
Year                 Circa 1605.
Medium                 gouache on vellum.
Condition                 Ivory case has a restored crack on the reverse
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