Venus and Adonis, by Peter Oliver, after Titian, signed, inscribed and dated 1631.

The hunter, holding two hounds on a leash, is loosely clad in a blue tunic and is being held back by the naked goddess, who sits on a pink drape. Cupid playing with doves is to dexter, with a landscape background; painted on vellum, with water colour pigment mixed with gum arabic. It is inscribed in gold: ‘Titianus Inven’ ‘1631 p.Olivier Fe’.
The painting has a gold border within a rectangular dark stained veneered fruitwood frame, 18cm by 21.5cm. The reverse has a crowned cypher stamp for the Collection of Charles I.


Charles I, King of England; (?) Endymion Porter.

Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire, nee Cecil, her will, proved 13th November 1690 (“A Picture of Venus and Adonis by old Oliver after Titian”), by whom given to her daughter, Anne, Countess of Exeter; thence by descent.

Recorded in the catalogue of the Commonwealth sale, 8th October, 1651 as sold to Cruso & Terence for £80. “Venus & Adonus by Pere Oliver.”

1738 Inventory: “The Dressing Room [1st George] An exceeding fine Picture of Venus and Adonis done by Oliver, from a Design of Titian. (These in the Jewel Closet.)”

Literature: D. Foskett, A Dictionary of British Miniature Painters, 1972, vol. I, pl.VI (colour)

Oliver Millar, Walpole Society, 1972, Vol. 63, p.258, No. 35.

Exhibited: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, ‘In the Public Eye’, 1999. No. 69.


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