The Three Brothers Browne, by Isaac Oliver (1565-1617), dated 1598.

Gouache and watercolour on vellum, mounted on card, in a carved gilt-wood frame, 38.8cm x36cm.

Signed with a monogram, inscribed and dated 1598, and variously inscribed: ‘Figurae Conformis Affectus.’/ ‘Año. Dom. 1598’/ ‘Aetatis.21’/ ‘Aetatis.24’/ ‘Aetatis18.’ and ‘Aetatis 21.’

The reverse with an inscription dated 19th January 1781.

The Three Brothers Browne depicted are: Anthony Maria, later 2nd Viscount Montague (1574-1629), flanked by his younger brothers, John and William.

They are shown standing full length with interlocking arms, wearing black doublets, breeches, hose and hats, with white lace collars, gold chains and belts.

An unidentified figure, perhaps a gentleman servant, wearing a striped grey and white costume with lace ruff and carrying his hat in his right hand, stands slightly apart from them.

The miniature was inherited by Isabella (1803-1879), wife of Brownlow, 2nd Marquess of Exeter (1795-1867), from her mother, the Hon. Elizabeth Poyntz, née Browne, a descendant of Anthony Maria, 2nd Viscount Montague.

Isaac Oliver was born in France to Huguenot parents and was brought to England as a young child, when the family was escaping from the Wars of Religion.

He studied with the great limner Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) and painted many of the courtiers at the courts of Elizabeth I and James I.


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