Oliver, Isaac

, one of the first English miniature painters, was born in this country in 1556, and studied under Hilliard, but received some farther instructions from Frederick Zucchero, and became a painter of great eminence, His principal employment was in portraits, which he painted for the most distinguished personages of his time; but he likewise attempted historical subjects with success. He was a good designer, and very correct; his touch was neat and delicate; and although he generally worked in miniature, yet he frequently painted in a large size. His drawings are highly finished, and exceedingly valued, many of them being copies after Parmigiano. Several very fine miniatures of this master are to be seen in the collections of the English nobility and gentry. Dr. Mead’s collection was very rich in them: some of them | are portraits of himself, others of queen Elizabeth, Mary queen of Scots, prince Henry, and Ben Jonson, which are admirably finished. There is also a whole length of sir Philip Sidney, of great merit. These are now in the king’s collection. At Strawberry-hill are some fine specimens, and in the closet of queen Caroline at Kensington, there is a capital drawing of Oliver’s, of which the subject is, the placing of Christ in the Sepulchre; and another drawing after Raphael’s design of the Murder of the Innocents, which has a great deal of merit. He died in 1617, aged sixty- one, and was buried in St. Anne’s, Blackfriars, where his son erected a monument to his memory, which was destroyed in the great fire. He wrote a treatise on limning, partly printed in Sanderson’s “Graphice.1


Pilkington. Walpole’s Anecdotes,