The Miniaturist Portrait of Elizabeth I, c. 1565, by Levina Teerlinc (1510-1576); London For thirty years I’ve lived and thrived at court through tact and artistry. King Henry paid me forty pounds per annum, which by report was more than court painter Holbein made. How hard he worked—aloof, apart from wife and children, striving to please the royal eyes. My family lives with me, which makes my life the richer. Riches, though, won’t bar surprise. Surprise can come when plague seeps through the door, just as it did to Holbein. My silent prayers preserve my days; pray God I’m granted more. I paint our fair young queen, with creature hairs and sharpened quills, to limn a lively face that dwells within its frame of earthly space.
Barbara Lydecker Crane has published widely in Able Muse, Ekphrastic Review, Montreal Review, Mezzo Cammin, and other journals. Her books include Zero Gravitas, Alphabetricks, and BackWords Logic. “The Miniaturist” is one of a long series of sonnets that take the viewpoints of particular artists.