Oliver, Peter (DNB00)

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OLIVER or OLIVIER, PETER (1594–1648), miniature-painter, was eldest son of Isaac Oliver [q. v.], probably by his first wife. Like his father, he excelled in portrait-miniature, and attained as high a repute. He painted many of the court and nobility during the latter part of the reign of James I And the whole of that of Charles I, and was especially noted for his copies in watercolour of celebrated pictures by the old masters. Besides the great miniature of 'The Entombment of Christ,' begun by Isaac Oliver and finished by Peter, several miniatures by Peter Oliver, made at the king's request, are enumerated in the catalogue of Charles I's collection, being copies of historical subjects after Raphael, Titian, Correggio, and Holbein. These were dispersed at the sale of the collection, but seven still remain in the royal collection at Windsor. On one of these pieces lie signs himself 'P. Olivier fecit, 1628.' He also made a number of drawings in sepia and blacklead. In the collection of portraits of the Digby family [see under Oliver, Isaac] there are two fine copies after Vandyck by Peter. His copy of Vandyck's portrait of Rachel Massue de Ruvigny, countess of Southampton, is one of the most remarkable works in miniature existing. Oliver resided at Isleworth in Middlesex, where he died in December 1648, and was buried beside his father in St. Anne's, Blackfriars. By his will, dated 12 Dec. 1647, and proved 15 Dec. 1648 (P.C.C. 184, Essex), he left his whole estate to his wife Anne. Antony Russel the painter [see under Oliver, Isaac] told Vertue (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 21111, f. 49) a story, that after the Restoration Charles II heard that Oliver usually made duplicates of all pictures which he painted for the king, and, finding that Oliver's widow was still living at Isleworth, went thither incognito to see them. When she declined to sell them until the king had seen them, he declared himself, and purchased the greater part of what was left, giving her in payment an annuity for life of 300l. It was subsequently reported to the king that Mrs. Oliver had denounced in disrespectful terms the royal mistresses to whom some of the pictures had been given, and her salary was consequently stopped. The rest of the limnings in Mrs. Oliver's possession passed into the hands of Theodore Russel, father of Vertue's informant. Several portraits of Peter Oliver exist. At Hampton Court there is a portrait by Adriaen Hanneman [q. v.]; of this there is a fine but anonymous engraving, in which the picture is attributed to Vandyck. Hanneman is said to have painted a companion portrait of Oliver's wife. Bromley mentions a portrait of Oliver painted by himself and engraved by T. Chambars, as well as an anonymous etching. In the Earl of Derby's collection there is a leaf of a pocket-book with drawings by Oliver in blacklead of himself on one side and of his wife on the other side.

A license was issued in the diocese of Canterbury for a marriage between Peter Oliver of Sandwich and Elizabeth Tylman of Sellinge, on 18 Sept. 1602 ({[sc|Cowper}}, Canterbury Marriage Licenses); and on 8 April 1606 a grant was made of the reversion to Peter Obver of the office of bailiff of Sandwich for life (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. James I, 1003-10). It does not appear likely that this was the miniature-painter; he was probably a member of a refugee family known to be then resident at Sandwich.

[For authorities other than those mentioned in the text, see under Oliver, Isaac.]

L. C.