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Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist’

Wednesday 18 September from 5.30pm
The Art Workers’ Guild

Dr Elizabeth Goldring introduces her new biography of Nicholas Hilliard (c. 1547-1619), whose portrait miniatures defined his age. Hilliard’s sitters included Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and James VI and I; royal favourites the earls of Essex and Leicester; Shakespeare’s patron the earl of Southampton; and explorers Francis Drake and Sir Walter Ralegh. Poets such as John Donne sang Hilliard’s praises, while other writers of the day hailed Hilliard as the founding father of British art. On the Continent Hilliard counted the Medici, the Valois and the Habsburgs among his many admirers. This illustrated talk brings to life the man as well as his art, tracing the Exeter-born Hilliard’s rise to fame, his personal struggles and quest to become the social equal of his sitters, and his role as teacher to the next generation of British painters. It also considers the ways in which Hilliard’s miniatures were displayed, experienced and collected – both during his lifetime and in the years immediately following his death.

Dr Elizabeth Goldring (MA, MPhil, PhD Yale) is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Areas of particular interest include 16th- and 17th-century court culture, England and the Continental Renaissance, portraiture and biography, and the reception of Elizabethan art and literature from the 17th century to the present. Her most recent book is Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist (YUP, 2019), published earlier this year to mark the 400th anniversary of Hilliard’s death. Other books include Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and the World of Elizabethan Art (YUP, 2014), which won the Bainton Prize for Art History, and, as General Editor, John Nichols’s The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth I: A New Edition of the Early Modern Sources (OUP, 2014), which won the Bainton Prize for Reference, the MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition, and was named a TLS ‘Book of the Year’.

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