Page:The Ancestor Number 1.djvu/60

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28 THE ANCESTOR THE MINIATURES AT BELVOIR CASTLE THE collection of miniatures at Belvoir Castle, though not in point of size very large, is a very representative one, containing fine examples of the famous English artists from Elizabethan times down to the present day ; while the foreign schools supply excellent specimens by J. Petitot, C. F. Zincke and J. E. Liotard and other less known miniaturists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The majority of the miniatures are family portraits ; but besides these the col- lection contains many of very great national and historic interest ; the Raleigh miniatures in particular being con- sidered unique. The greatest care has been bestowed on the 'pictures in little,' as they are sometimes described in old manuscripts. They have lately been chronologically arranged by Lady Granby in sixteen panels round the room, and protected by glass and green blinds from their arch enemies — damp and sunlight. The nucleus of the collection was formed by each successive generation having their portraits painted, but the miniatures of the Cosway period were collected chiefly by the third and fourth Dukes of Rutland. The earliest portrait in point of date (1501) is that of Elizabeth wife of Sir John Seymour, daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth, and mother of Lady Jane Seymour (who married Henry VIII.) and of the Protector Somerset. There is no inscription on this miniature ; the background is of the blue colour beloved by Hilliard and his school, and the treatment is flat and hard. In the same panel hangs an interesting Elizabethan group : Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor ; Henry Percy, eighth Earl of Northumberland ; Queen Elizabeth ; and Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester. Sir Christopher Hatton is a most curious full length picture : the great seal is lying on a table near him and a small dog is at his side. It is not signed, but is most probably by Nicholas Hilliard (an almost exact replica of this portrait is now in Mr. Salting's fine collection). A tragic interest is attached to the miniature