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Peter Oliver (1589-1647)

Charles I (1600-1649) when Prince of Wales c.1620

RCIN 420049

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Peter Oliver was the eldest son of the miniaturist Isaac Oliver, and was trained by his father. On Isaac Oliver's death in 1617, his son took over his role as court limner, producing portrait miniatures of Charles Prince of Wales, and of Frederick V and Elizabeth of Bohemia. Isaac Oliver had explored the idea of producing small-scale limned copies in watercolour on vellum of full-scale paintings; after his death, Peter Oliver completed his father's small-scale copy of The Entombment (Musée d'Angers) for Charles I; in exchange, he was granted £200 from December 1636 for the production of further limned copies of Old Master paintings in the king's collection. Eight of these copies now survive in the Royal Collection. This is the earliest of a series of miniatures of Charles I when Prince of Wales by Peter Oliver, and appears to be somewhat later in date than Isaac Oliver's miniature of c.1616 (420048; Royal Collection), perhaps dating to c. 1620. The similarity in conception of both miniatures is evident, however; both share the same compositional format including the curtain background in red lake floated onto the vellum using the wet-in-wet technique and very similar closely stippled brushwork. Without the benefit of Peter Oliver's signature, his work at this early stage of his career is virtually indistinguishable from that of his father. Signed in gold on the right: 'P.O.' surrounded by four dots.