Nicholas Hilliard

By: Camy Bryson

Who is Nicholas Hilliard?

Nicholas Hilliard was an English painter who was known for his miniature portraits. He was born in 1547 and died in 1619. He was trained as a goldsmith, but then he learned he was talented at painting. He was the first painter who was known to be good at painting miniature portraits. He is best known for his portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.


Nicholas Hilliard painted or assisted in several portraits of figures that we still know today. These include Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley (1st Earl of Leicester), Queen Mary of the Scots, Francis Bacon, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, George Clifford (3rd Earl of Cumberland), Sir Christopher Hatton, Mary Herbet (Countess of Pembroke), and Robert Carr (Earl of Somerset).

Personal Life

Nicholas Hilliard was the son of Richard Hilliard who was also a goldsmith as well as sheriff of Exeter, England in 1568. He apprenticed himself to Robert Brandon who was the Queen's jeweler. Nicholas Hilliard married Alice Brandon (daughter of Robert Brandon) and together they had 8 children.