Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 25 items Explore
  • 35 items
  • 25 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 89 items
  • 3,454 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 42 items
  • 11,033 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,235 items Explore
  • 8,499 items Explore
  • 5,050 items Explore
  • 72 items Explore
  • 167 items Explore
  • 10,620 items Explore
  • 13,625 items Explore
  • 4,646 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 153 items Explore
  • 2,038 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,757 items Explore
  • 24 items Explore
  • 437 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 19,203 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,900 items Explore
  • 1,113 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 4,603 items Explore
  • 456 items Explore
  • 29 items
  • 920 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 19,350 items Explore
  • 791 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 800 items
  • 25 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 319 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 145 items
  • 2 items
  • 7 items
  • 121 items Explore
  • 119 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,021 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 800 items
  • 95 items
  • 27 items
  • 108 items
  • 27,829 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,837 items Explore
  • 1,519 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 158 items Explore
  • 9,712 items Explore
  • 9,685 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 39 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 5,139 items Explore
  • 7,439 items Explore
  • 4,375 items Explore
  • 1,512 items Explore
  • 930 items Explore
  • 3,493 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 334 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,434 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 354 items Explore
  • 797 items Explore
  • 1,097 items Explore
  • 510 items Explore
  • 1,047 items Explore
  • 1,138 items
  • 89 items
  • 125 items Explore
  • 6,953 items Explore
  • 170 items
  • 310 items
  • 4 items
  • 27 items
  • 61 items
  • 304 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,923 items Explore
  • 1,575 items Explore
  • 82 items
  • 43 items
  • 19,430 items Explore
  • 1,241 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 1,533 items Explore
  • 32 items
  • 1 items
  • 132 items Explore
  • 24 items
  • 40 items
  • 20 items
  • 252 items
  • 314 items
  • 747 items Explore
  • 1,897 items
  • 349 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,426 items
  • 2,525 items
  • 3 items
  • 3 items
  • 3 items
  • 4,390 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 34,207 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,285 items Explore
  • 274 items Explore
  • 8,059 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 731 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 161 items
  • 52 items
  • 21,728 items Explore
  • 916 items
  • 18 items
  • 22,121 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,331 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,052 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 59 items
  • 499 items
  • 3,289 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 453 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 21 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 76 items
  • 281 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 128 items
  • 295 items
  • 736 items
  • 868 items
  • 1 items
  • 369 items Explore
  • 272 items Explore
  • 11,395 items Explore
  • 760 items Explore
  • 6,038 items Explore
  • 10 items
  • 7,327 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 5,363 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,732 items Explore
  • 9,201 items Explore
  • 7,745 items Explore
  • 201 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 1,024 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 4,097 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,096 items Explore
  • 223 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,495 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 696 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 134 items
  • 6,328 items Explore
  • 14,235 items Explore
  • 3,127 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 8 items
  • 9,318 items Explore
  • 37 items
  • 2 items
  • 21,320 items Explore
  • 131 items
  • 38 items
  • 13,166 items Explore
  • 3,387 items Explore
  • 2,291 items Explore
  • 44 items
  • 41,330 items Explore
  • 638 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 23,281 items Explore
  • 218 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 20 items
  • 27 items
  • 256 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 217 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 13,207 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 10,261 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 14 items
  • 25 items
  • 1 items
  • 4,533 items Explore
  • 918 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 38 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 220 items
  • 702 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 2,284 items Explore
  • 1,662 items Explore
  • 15 items
  • 1,928 items Explore
  • 151 items
  • 84 items
  • 772 items Explore
  • 3,310 items Explore
  • 41 items
  • 17 items
  • 12 items
  • 10,646 items Explore
  • 23,091 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,374 items
  • 180 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 92 items
  • 3 items
  • 13,323 items Explore
  • 3,571 items Explore
  • 2,644 items Explore
  • 4,776 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 45 items
  • 6,901 items Explore
  • 4,795 items Explore
  • 271 items Explore
  • 2,300 items Explore
  • 2,923 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 1,864 items Explore
  • 291 items
  • 223 items Explore
  • 448 items Explore
  • 6,122 items Explore
  • 8,817 items Explore
  • 1,855 items Explore
  • 5,797 items Explore
  • 3,344 items Explore
  • 11,070 items Explore
  • 86 items
  • 11 items
  • 1,644 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 5 items
  • 1 items
  • 2,855 items Explore
  • 620 items Explore
  • 62 items
  • 17 items
  • 151 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 87 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 464 items
  • 996 items Explore
  • 3,604 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,405 items Explore
  • 48 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 42 items
  • 3 items
  • 13,712 items Explore
  • 1,163 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 10,566 items Explore
  • 1,005 items Explore
  • 1,924 items
  • 6,886 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,944 items Explore
  • 1,418 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 9,584 items Explore
  • 16,269 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,670 items Explore
  • 175 items
  • 58 items
  • 5,684 items Explore
  • 8,787 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 25 items
  • 2 items
  • 59 items
  • 3 items
  • 7,378 items Explore
  • 402 items Explore
  • 13 items
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 4 items
  • 103 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 5 items
  • 480 items
  • 299 items Explore
  • 8,367 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 23,175 items Explore
  • 7,350 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 26 items
  • 4,175 items Explore
  • 465 items
  • 339 items Explore
  • 12,691 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 20 items
  • 7 items
  • 4 items
  • 315 items Explore
  • 434 items
  • 183 items
  • 3,704 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,227 items Explore
  • 2,494 items Explore
  • 732 items Explore
  • 36 items
  • 1,135 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 217 items Explore
  • 72,935 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,065 items Explore
  • 2,845 items Explore
  • 26 items
  • 3,610 items Explore
  • 1,832 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 17,273 items Explore
  • 5,508 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 633 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 1 items
  • 468 items
  • 39 items
  • 76 items
  • 29 items
  • 335 items
  • 3 items
  • 41 items
  • 1,176 items Explore
  • 109 items
  • 805 items
  • 17 items
  • 11,017 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 13 items
  • 1,566 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 214 items
  • 16,817 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 9 items
  • 8 items
  • 324 items
  • 2 items
  • 628 items Explore
  • 1,587 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 1,034 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 261 items

Select a time period

Or choose a specific year

Clear all filters

Sir Edward Herbert, later 1st Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1581/2-1648)

Isaac Oliver (Rouen c.1565 – London 1617)

Category

Art / Miniatures

Date

circa 1613 - 1614

Materials

Watercolour on vellum mounted on panel, in a tortoiseshell and ebony frame

Measurements

181 mm (H)229 mm (W)

Order this image

Collection

Powis Castle and Garden, Powys (Accredited Museum)

NT 1183954

Caption

Reclining on a grassy bank beside a trickling stream and looking directly at us, this young man knows how to pose like a poet and lover. As if to underline this, his shield sports a heart engulfed in flames. Sir Edward Herbert (1581/2–1648) was a courtier, soldier, diplomat and man of letters. His sumptuous costume of silver and blue matches the livery of his horse in the distance, and this, along with his shield, suggests he is resting after a royal jousting tournament. Such events were entertainments for the monarch and provided an opportunity for an ambitious courtier to demonstrate his skill and bravery. One of the most charming and beautifully painted portrait miniatures of the Jacobean age, this small picture is by the court artist Isaac Oliver (c.1565–1617), who specialised in such small-scale wonders.

Summary

Watercolour on vellum mounted on panel, Sir Edward Herbert, later 1st Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1581/2-1648), by Isaac Oliver, (c. 1565-1617), c.1613-14. A miniature depicting Edward Herbert with his head resting on his right hand as he lies stretched out on the banks of a stream in a shady forest, with a landscape visible beyond. A shield strapped to his left arm is decorated with a flaming heart and the motto 'MAGICA SYMPATHIAE'. A squire is seen tending to his horse and armour nearby.

Full description

Sir Edward Herbert, first Baron Herbert of Cherbury (1581/2–1648), was a philosopher, courtier, soldier, musician, poet and diplomat. This ‘cabinet’ miniature shows him as a young man reclining in a wood with his head propped on his hand in the pose of a melancholiac. In the background a squire prepares Herbert’s horse with jousting gear. Herbert himself, dressed in courtly clothes, is depicted with a jousting shield. It is inscribed with the Latin motto ‘MAGICA SYMPATHIAE’ and decorated with a motif of a heart and flames. The precise meaning of this ‘impresa’ shield is now obscure but probably relates to the concept of ‘sympathetic magic’ which was central to his philosophical writings. Roy Strong dated the work to c.1613-14 based on the cut of Herbert’s clothes (Strong 1984, p. 180-4). More recently, Catharine MacLeod has proposed a wider date range between 1610, when the sitter returned from his travels on the Continent, and 1614, when he joined the Dutch army of Maurice of Nassau (1567– 1625) (MacLeod 2019, p. 175). Ever since it was engraved by Anthony Walker (1726–1765) in 1764, the portrait has been attributed to Isaac Oliver (c.1565–1617), the official miniature painter of Queen Anne of Denmark. The sophistication of the perspective in the landscape and the handling of the foliage bear out this attribution although the use of vermillion pigment in the flesh tones is not typical of Oliver (Kimbriel 2016, p. 19). Herbert’s autobiography documents a keen interest in his own portraits making it likely that he commissioned this miniature himself. It was probably passed down through the family and came to Powis Castle when the Herberts of Cherbury intermarried with their cousins, the Herberts of Powis, in the 18th century. Its early provenance may mirror that of the manuscript of the autobiography which was discovered in 1737 with ‘some books, pictures and other things’ at the family’s house, Lymore Hall in Montgomery (Walpole 1764, unpaginated introduction).

Provenance

Presumably commissioned by the sitter and thence by descent; on loan to the National Trust from 1952; purchased by the National Trust by private treaty, with the help of grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, a fund set up by the late Hon. Simon Sainsbury and a bequest from Winifred Hooper, 2016. Recorded at Powis Castle in Montgomery Collections Vol VI P.148 in 1873.

Makers and roles

Isaac Oliver (Rouen c.1565 – London 1617)

Exhibition history

Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2019 Loan of Powis miniature to National Museum of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Cardiff, 2017 - 2018 Shakespeare: Staging the World, British Museum, London, 2012

References

Walpole 1764: Horace Walpole (ed.), The Life of Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Written by Himself, Strawberry Hill 1764 Auerbach 1961 Erna Auerbach, Nicholas Hilliard, London, 1961, pp.251, 331, no.259 Strong 1964 Roy Strong, 'The Elizabethan Malady: Melancholy in Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture', Apollo 79, 1964, pp.264-9 Shuttleworth 1976 J.M. Shuttleworth (ed.), The Life of Edward, first Lord Herbert of Cherbury, written by himself, London, New York, Toronto, 1976, pp.60-1 Finsten 1981 Jill Finsten, Isaac Oliver: Art at the Courts of Elizabeth I and James I, New York, London, 1981, vol.2, pp.91-3 Artists of the Tudor court: The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered, 1520-1620 (exh cat) (ed. Roy Stong), Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 9 July - 6 November 1983, pp.164-5 Strong 1984 Roy Strong, The English Renaissance Miniature, 1983, revised edition, 1984, p.180-4 The Treasure Houses of Britain: Five Hundred Years of Private Patronage and Art Collecting (exh cat) (ed. Gervase Jackson-Stops) National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2 November 1985 - 16 March 1986, p.118 Dynasties Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England, 1530-1630 (exh cat) (ed. Karen Hearn) Tate Gallery, London, 12 October 1995 - 7 January 1996, p.139, no.86 Green and Watts 2016 Elizabeth Green and Siobhan Watts, '"Sure Adam sinn'd not in that spotless face": The Isaac Oliver miniature of Lord Herbert of Cherbury', Arts, Building, Collections Bulletin, National Trust, Autumn 2016, pp.14-15 Kimbriel 2016: Christine Kimbriel, Report HKI, no.3120, 21 November 2016, Hamilton Kerr Institute Chu 2018 John Chu, House of Portraits: Powis Castle, Swindon, 2018, pp.39-45 Chu 2018 John Chu, 'Magic and Mystery: the Secret Conceit of a Jacobean Cabinet Miniature', 2018, National Trust Collections Website MacLeod 2019: Catherine MacLeod (ed.), Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver, exh.cat., National Portrait Gallery, London 2019, pp.174-175

View more details

Related articles