(b ?Rouen, c.1565; bur. London, 2 Oct. 1617). English miniaturist of French origin, the son of a refugee Huguenot goldsmith who settled in England in about 1568. Although he was naturalized in 1606, he always considered himself French and his command of written English was shaky. He trained under Hilliard (whose main rival he later became) and by 1590 was established in his own practice. Hilliard continued to receive royal favour under James I, but Oliver was made limner to the Queen, Anne of Denmark, in 1604, and he was also patronized by Henry, Prince of Wales, and his circle. His style was more naturalistic than Hilliard's, using light and shade to obtain modelling and generally dispensing with the emblematic trappings so beloved of the Elizabethan age.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)