Hilliard Society

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The Hilliard Society was formed in 1982 and is named after Nicholas Hilliard who was court miniaturist to Elizabeth I. Hilliard was born in Exeter and was the first great English miniaturist. The aim of the Society was, and remains to promote miniature art in the West Country and so it could not have chosen a better name. Over the years the Society has held exhibitions and displays in every country in the South West, including the Channel Islands. Its annual international exhibition includes work from artists from all over the UK and abroad. It is held in June each year in the Town Hall, Wells and is open to non-members as well as members of the Society. Although the generally accepted maximum size of a miniature painting is around 4.5” x 6”, the quality of brushwork and fine detail is more important . It must stand up to close inspection, while at the same time holding its own with good composition and tonal balance when viewed from a distance. Miniaturists use a wide variety of mediums on surfaces including paper, ivorene (artificial ivory) or vellum for watercolour, and increasingly acrylics, acrylic inks, and coloured pencils are becoming more widely used. Along with the traditional portraits, modern miniatures now encompass subjects such as still life, architecture, marine, wildlife, landscapes, animal portraits, and are increasingly popular with both artists and collectors. The Society welcomes new artists, holding a workshop each year at the Town Hall on the first Saturday of its