This portrait is among the earliest of the Rosenbach’s miniatures. Trained as a goldsmith and jeweller, Hilliard became the court miniaturist to Elizabeth I and James I. His skilled rendering of luxurious fabrics, metals and gems seems a natural outgrowth of his earlier employment. The minute details of the starched lace collar and the originally glittering–but now partially oxidized–metallic pigments highlighting the gold and gems show how the artist combined technique and materials to capture his subject’s outward expression of wealth and power.
Nicholas Hilliard, portrait of King James I. gouache on vellum or card. England, 1603-1608. 1954.1611