This painting of a finely dressed gentleman is an example of the work of portrait miniaturist or limner, Nicholas Hilliard.

Painted with thousands of tiny watercolour brushstrokes the image is heightened with a deep blue background and sparks of gold paint. We don’t know the identity of the sitter, the work is dated 1615 and has the initials V.D, probably those of the sitter.

Hilliard worked at the courts of both Elizabeth I and James VI/I painting miniatures of Royalty and aristocracy. His background as a goldsmith explains his interest in and ability to paint convincing representations of the pearls and gold jewels worn by his sitters. Portrait of a gentleman pays particular attention to the gold lace and large gold and enamel hat badge ornamented with pendant pearls.

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