Miniature madness

November 29 2011

Image of Miniature madness

Picture: Christie's

This delicious miniature sold for £181,250 today, smashing its estimate of £15,000-£25,000. It is by Isaac Oliver, and shows Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare's great patron (and, say the conspiracists, lover). It is one of the nicest miniatures to come of the market in recent years, and all the better, I think, for being unfinished. 

Also fetching a high price in the same sale was an enamel by Henry Bone, which set a new record for a work by the artist. The miniature was a copy of Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII. It beat its estimate of £50-70,000 to make £313,250. 

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