Show me:
and
Clear all filters

  • 35 items
  • 25 items Explore
  • 89 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,451 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 871 items
  • 4 items
  • 220 items
  • 12,132 items Explore
  • 209 items Explore
  • 1,232 items Explore
  • 8,481 items Explore
  • 5,043 items Explore
  • 167 items Explore
  • 13,004 items Explore
  • 13,625 items Explore
  • 4,865 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 5 items
  • 153 items Explore
  • 2,082 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 4,748 items Explore
  • 13 items Explore
  • 437 items Explore
  • 267 items
  • 19,796 items Explore
  • 34 items Explore
  • 1,917 items Explore
  • 1,083 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 2,048 items Explore
  • 449 items Explore
  • 920 items Explore
  • 1 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 7 items
  • 20,052 items
  • 800 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 73 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 797 items
  • 20 items
  • 4 items
  • 26 items
  • 61 items
  • 28 items
  • 319 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 44 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 2 items
  • 2 items
  • 7 items
  • 1 items
  • 121 items Explore
  • 119 items
  • 1 items
  • 1,020 items Explore
  • 803 items
  • 95 items
  • 27 items
  • 108 items
  • 36,424 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,863 items Explore
  • 1,533 items Explore
  • 403 items
  • 158 items Explore
  • 10,987 items Explore
  • 9,686 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1 items
  • 38 items
  • 3 items
  • 4 items
  • 7,049 items Explore
  • 7,471 items Explore
  • 4,510 items Explore
  • 1,843 items Explore
  • 1,192 items Explore
  • 22,345 items Explore
  • 3,601 items Explore
  • 17 items
  • 5 items
  • 334 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,392 items Explore
  • 20 items Explore
  • 353 items Explore
  • 796 items Explore
  • 1,090 items Explore
  • 510 items Explore
  • 1,127 items Explore
  • 89 items
  • 125 items Explore
  • 6,950 items Explore
  • 170 items
  • 310 items
  • 4 items
  • 2 items
  • 63 items
  • 2 items
  • 2,936 items Explore
  • 1,579 items Explore
  • 203 items
  • 91 items
  • 20,234 items Explore
  • 1,166 items Explore
  • 138 items
  • 856 items Explore
  • 32 items
  • 132 items Explore
  • 40 items
  • 20 items
  • 281 items
  • 313 items
  • 682 items Explore
  • 1,990 items
  • 349 items Explore
  • 2,427 items
  • 2,525 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 4,391 items Explore
  • 40,534 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 3,284 items Explore
  • 275 items Explore
  • 8,548 items Explore
  • 31 items
  • 25 items
  • 304 items Explore
  • 776 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 65 items
  • 161 items
  • 58 items
  • 52 items
  • 22,275 items Explore
  • 917 items
  • 18 items
  • 22,557 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 2,335 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 1,028 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 759 items
  • 499 items
  • 3,304 items Explore
  • 174 items
  • 59 items
  • 455 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 21 items
  • 90 items Explore
  • 76 items
  • 281 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 6 items
  • 128 items
  • 295 items
  • 447 items
  • 287 items
  • 1 items
  • 790 items Explore
  • 268 items Explore
  • 11,288 items Explore
  • 760 items Explore
  • 6,055 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 8,000 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1 items
  • 5,767 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 3,722 items Explore
  • 9,190 items Explore
  • 7,755 items Explore
  • 186 items
  • 19 items
  • 142 items
  • 7 items
  • 853 items Explore
  • 19 items
  • 2,650 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,095 items Explore
  • 267 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,540 items Explore
  • 695 items Explore
  • 18 items
  • 134 items
  • 6,715 items Explore
  • 93 items
  • 18,688 items Explore
  • 3,140 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 7 items
  • 10,980 items Explore
  • 37 items
  • 4 items
  • 2 items
  • 21,543 items Explore
  • 38 items
  • 13,198 items Explore
  • 3,456 items Explore
  • 5,227 items Explore
  • 33 items
  • 45,913 items Explore
  • 641 items Explore
  • 415 items
  • 26,002 items Explore
  • 217 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 35 items
  • 27 items
  • 356 items Explore
  • 217 items Explore
  • 13 items
  • 13,216 items Explore
  • 1,351 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 10,260 items
  • 9 items
  • 10 items
  • 14 items
  • 25 items
  • 1 items
  • 4,533 items Explore
  • 913 items Explore
  • 61 items
  • 1 items
  • 1 items
  • 318 items
  • 702 items Explore
  • 42 items
  • 2,307 items Explore
  • 1,662 items Explore
  • 15 items
  • 1,873 items Explore
  • 150 items
  • 81 items
  • 680 items Explore
  • 3,063 items Explore
  • 43 items
  • 17 items
  • 12 items
  • 10,675 items Explore
  • 23,147 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 3 items
  • 1 items
  • 41 items
  • 1,372 items
  • 180 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 92 items
  • 13,430 items Explore
  • 3,571 items Explore
  • 2,896 items Explore
  • 4,782 items Explore
  • 22 items
  • 42 items
  • 6,898 items Explore
  • 4,780 items Explore
  • 256 items Explore
  • 2,300 items Explore
  • 2,975 items Explore
  • 2 items
  • 1,902 items Explore
  • 193 items
  • 223 items Explore
  • 466 items Explore
  • 6,115 items Explore
  • 8,738 items Explore
  • 1,861 items Explore
  • 5,795 items Explore
  • 3,339 items Explore
  • 11,064 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 86 items
  • 11 items
  • 1,793 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 24 items
  • 51 items
  • 6 items
  • 1 items
  • 3,990 items Explore
  • 611 items Explore
  • 72 items
  • 17 items
  • 152 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 87 items Explore
  • 460 items
  • 7 items
  • 2 items
  • 996 items Explore
  • 3,610 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 9,469 items Explore
  • 48 items Explore
  • 3 items
  • 7 items
  • 42 items
  • 3 items
  • 13,792 items Explore
  • 1,164 items Explore
  • 92 items
  • 10,562 items Explore
  • 1,920 items
  • 24 items
  • 7,832 items Explore
  • 21 items
  • 12,945 items Explore
  • 1,417 items Explore
  • 6 items
  • 9,677 items Explore
  • 16,234 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 1,669 items Explore
  • 181 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 5,684 items Explore
  • 12,134 items Explore
  • 48 items
  • 25 items
  • 2 items
  • 3 items
  • 7,256 items Explore
  • 402 items Explore
  • 13 items
  • 4 items
  • 6 items
  • 103 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 5 items
  • 491 items
  • 665 items Explore
  • 8,551 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 7,344 items Explore
  • 5 items
  • 26 items
  • 4,498 items Explore
  • 420 items
  • 5 items
  • 205 items Explore
  • 12,701 items Explore
  • 55 items
  • 20 items
  • 7 items
  • 4 items
  • 325 items Explore
  • 434 items
  • 516 items
  • 3,703 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 1,232 items Explore
  • 2,501 items Explore
  • 734 items Explore
  • 36 items
  • 1,139 items Explore
  • 97 items Explore
  • 24 items
  • 226 items Explore
  • 78,435 items Explore
  • 3,065 items Explore
  • 2,844 items Explore
  • 64 items
  • 3,648 items Explore
  • 1,831 items Explore
  • 4 items
  • 17,445 items Explore
  • 5,097 items Explore
  • 7 items
  • 632 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 31 items
  • 1 items
  • 76 items
  • 29 items
  • 86 items
  • 3 items
  • 1,177 items Explore
  • 109 items
  • 805 items
  • 12,187 items Explore
  • 27 items
  • 13 items
  • 1,554 items Explore
  • 1 items
  • 214 items
  • 17,028 items Explore
  • 85 items
  • 17 items
  • 1 items
  • 9 items
  • 8 items
  • 324 items
  • 2 items
  • 627 items Explore
  • 1,584 items Explore
  • 8 items
  • 1,041 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

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. This miniature is considered to have been commissioned by Herbert himself, along with another miniature held at Charlecote Park (NT 533855).

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. Herbert has been considered to have commissioned another miniature, currently held at Charlecote Park (NT 533855). This miniature 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 Hearn 1995: Karen Hearn (ed.), Dynasties Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England, 1530-1630 (exh. cat.), 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: Catharine MacLeod (ed.), Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver, exh.cat., National Portrait Gallery, London 2019, pp.174-175

View more details

Related articles