OLIVER, English family of miniature painters and draughtsmen, of French origin

Pierre Ollivier (d after 1582) was a Huguenot goldsmith from Rouen, who fled c. 1568 to England, where he is first documented in 1571. His son Isaac Oliver was a pupil of Nicholas Hilliard, and, although he concentrated on portrait miniatures, he also produced mythological and religious drawings and miniature paintings. He developed a style that was more influenced by Continental art than was Hilliard's, such that his work came to be more favoured in the Jacobean period than the latter's. Isaac's eldest son, Peter Oliver, was the only one of his children to follow his art. After the 1620s Peter gave up portrait miniatures in favour of painting miniature copies of works by the Old Masters.