Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hoskins, John (d.1664)

HOSKINS, JOHN (d. 1664), miniature-painter, ‘was a very eminent Limner in the reign of King Charles I, whom he drew with his queen and most of his court. He was bred a face-painter in oil, but afterwards taking to miniature, he far exceeded what he did before.’ Other details of his life are wanting, but his miniature portraits were as much admired by his contemporaries as they are at the present day. Some fine examples were exhibited at the South Kensington Exhibition of Miniatures in 1862, and at the exhibition of miniatures at the Burlington Arts Club in 1889. He painted many celebrities of his time, including Lord Falkland, Sir Kenelm Digby, Sir John Maynard, William Cavendish, duke of Newcastle, John Selden, and others. Perhaps his finest miniature is the large portrait of Catherine Bruce, countess of Dysart, painted in 1638, in the collection of the Earl of Dysart at Ham House. Hoskins made two drawings for the great seal of Charles I, which were preserved in the royal collection. His nephews, Alexander and Samuel Cooper [q. v.], were his pupils. The latter excelled Hoskins as a miniature-painter, and has somewhat overshadowed his fame. Hoskins died in February 1664, and was buried in St. Paul's, Covent Garden. He left a son, John Hoskins the younger, who also practised with success as a miniature-painter, and painted James II, Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey, and others. It is difficult to distinguish his paintings from those of his father.

[Buckeridge's Suppl. to De Piles's Lives of the Painters; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Propert's Hist. of Miniature Painting; Catalogues of Exhibitions at South Kensington, 1862, and Burlington Club, 1889.]

L. C.