Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carmylyon, Alice

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Ellis Carmyllyan (male) in the ODNB.

CARMYLYON, ALICE or ELLYS (fl. 1527–1531), painter, a foreigner settled in England, has been by some writers taken to be a woman, the christian name being occasionally spelt Alice, but there is no conclusive evodence either way. The name occurs in the following forms: Alice Carmilliam, Alycs Carmyllion, Alis Carmyllion, Ellys Carmyan, and 'Elysys the painter.' The surname is an anglicised form of Carmelianus, and there may have been some relationship between the painter and Petrus Carmelianus of Brescia, the poet [q. v.] The artist is described in various entries in account-books as 'payntor,' 'myllvner,' 'guylder,' and 'gonnor.' This last 'is no doubt merely a copyist's mistake, the name next above in the list being that of a gunner. There are no other female painters mentioned in the account-books of Henry VIII's reign. but in the next two reigns there was one, who is styled 'Mjstres Levyn Terlynck payntrix.' The use of this feminine form is a slight argument in favour of Carmylvon being a man, and so is the fact that all the other 'myllyners' attached to the court were of the same sex. On the other hand, Carmylyon's wages were 33c. 4d. a quarter, while those of the Hornebauds and Vincent Volpe ranged from 33s. 4d. a month to 5l. a quarter. This might point to the lower scale of wages paid to a woman, were it not that what was known of Carmylyon's work shows that it was by no means of a high class. It does not appear what foundation John Gough Nichols has for his remark that 'she appears to have been a painter in miniature (Archæol, xxxix. 39), for all the notices discoverable refer to the banquetting-house at Greenwich, gilding vanes for the Tower, and working at 'two arches, a portall, a fountayne, and an arbour.' We may therefore conclude that decoration rather than miniature was her province. The dates 1539 and 1541 given by Nichols as the last payments to Carmylyon are mistakes for 1529 and 1531.

[Cal. State Papers, Hen. VIII, iv. 1395, v. 305, 307, vi. 5; Archæologia, xxxix. 39.]

C. T. M.