The Current Issue

February 2019, Issue 472 David Abulafia on how classical ideas were lost and found * Tim Blanning on conceptions of time in German history * Helen Hackett on Nicholas Hilliard * Andrew Hussey on France's precarious politics * Roy Greenslade on Jill Abramson * John Gray on Eric Hobsbawm * Catherine Brown on Teffi * Will Wiles ventures underground * Agnès Poirier on Michael Peppiatt * Kathleen Burk on silver * Christopher Hart on Auberon Waugh * Pamela Norris on Tessa Hadley * Matt Rowland Hill on Adam Foulds *  and much, much more…

Helen Hackett

Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist

By Elizabeth Goldring

According to Elizabeth Goldring in this engrossing biography, the earliest recorded use of the term ‘miniature’ in English literature comes in Sir Philip Sidney’s prose romance The New Arcadia, written in the early 1580s. Four ladies bathe and splash playfully in the River Ladon, personified as male, and he responds delightedly by making numerous bubbles, as if ‘he would in each of those bubbles set forth the miniature of them’. It’s a pleasing image, calling to mind the delicacy and radiance of the works of Nicholas Hilliard, the leading miniaturist (or ‘limner’) of the Elizabethan age, whom Sidney knew and with whom he discussed emerging ideas about the theory and practice of art. In some ways, a miniature had the ephemerality of a bubble, capturing an individual at a fleeting moment in time, often recorded in an inscription... read more

More Articles from this Issue

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter