(b. ca. 1594, London, d. 1647, Isleworth)


English miniaturist, part of a family of artists, son of Isaac Oliver. The date of his birth is not recorded, and the traditional date of c. 1594 has been disputed, but there is evidence to support it. When making his will in 1617 Isaac made bequests to Peter on condition that he still 'exercise that art or science which he and I now doe', showing that he was then his father's assistant. One of his earliest known miniatures, Charles, Prince of Wales, as a Young Man (Windsor Castle, Royal Collection), is a modified version of his father's standard portrait and would be assigned on stylistic grounds to Isaac, were it not inscribed with Peter's monogram PO.

By 1621 Peter had evolved apparently independent portraits of Prince Charles and of Frederick and Elizabeth of Bohemia, of which he made many repetitions (versions of all three, Windsor Castle, Royal Collection). At the same time he was in demand outside the royal circle. His miniature of Sir Francis Nethersole (1619; London, Victoria and Albert Museum) is a representative example showing how he developed his father's later manner with even greater breadth of handling and range of colour, especially in his backgrounds. However, virtually no portraits from life by him are known after the 1620s. Instead he was engaged in making miniature copies of Old Masters, a development that signaled the end of his father's ambition to found a school of original historical miniature painting in England.