Hilliard, Nicholas

, an English artist, the son of Nicholas Hilliard of Exeter, was born in that city in 1547 and for want of a proper instructor, studied the works of Hans Holbein, which to him seemed preferable to all others, but he was incapable of acquiring the force and nature which that great master impressed on all his smaller performances. He could never arrive at any strength of colouring his carnations were always pale, and void of any variety of tints yet his penciling was exceedingly neat, the jewels and ornaments of his portraits were expressed with lines incredibly slender, and even the hairs of the head and of the beard were almost distinctly to be counted. He was exact in describing the dress of the times, but he rarely attempted more than a head; and yet his works were much admired and highly prized. He painted the portrait of the queen of Scots, which gained bina universal applause; and queen Elizabeth sat to him for her portrait several times. He was this queen’s goldsmith, carver, and portrait-painter. He was very much employed by the nobility and gentry, and was admired and highly prized in his time. Enjoying his reputation to the age of seventy-two, he died in 1619. Donne has celebrated him in a poem called “The Storm;” where he says,

"An hand, an eye,

By Hilliard drawn, is worth an history."

Lord Orford, who has given some anecdotes of this painter, concludes with observing, that the greatest obligation we | have to Hilliard is his having contributed to form the celebrated Isaac Oliver. 1


Walpole’s Anecdotes. Pilkington and —Strutt’s Dictionaries.