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Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619)

Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612) Dated 1607

RCIN 420642

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Henry, Prince of Wales is shown here in his thirteenth year wearing a suit of armour of French make - lavishly decorated with bands of scrollwork - which remains in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. Nicholas Hilliard was not alone in focusing on the young Prince's physical strength and martial qualities (see also 420058), but by this late stage in his career, his technique was beginning to look increasingly outdated. The sophistication of his earlier work of the 1570s and 1580s is no longer as evident; although his concentration on design and his delight in the detail of costume is as strong as ever, a particular weakness here is the sense of spatial recession on the left. Although James I continued to favour Nicholas Hilliard, the subject of this miniature, Henry, Prince of Wales, preferred to employ Hilliard's pupil, Isaac Oliver, as his miniature painter. The miniature has a long provenance in the Royal Collection and can be associated with the portrait described by Abraham van der Doort, Surveyor of Pictures to Charles I, as 'Prince Henry upon an ovall-redd Curteine ground Card in a white silver and gilded Armor his left hand in a Gantlett houlding the same at his side, and on the right side upon the Table standing a head peece -wth a white feather Bush' annotated in the margin 'Done by the ould Hilliard' . The miniature still bears on the reverse a paper label inscribed in ink by Van der Doort's hand: '56 In the cubborde within ye cabinett..whitehall' describing its location when in the collection of Charles I c. 1639-40. . Inscribed in gold: Ano Dni 1607. Aetatis suae 14.