Miniature portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh after Nicholas Hilliard, £11,000 at Dominic Winter.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Wearing a large lace-trimmed ruff and black coat, with two crimson jewels to his chest, and a black cap lavishly decorated with pearls, it is thought to be the earliest likeness of the Elizabethan adventurer to survive.

This finely executed copy, deemed ‘after Hilliard’, is dated 1614, the same year that Raleigh published his History of the World, written while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Measuring 2in (5cm) in an oval yellow metal locket frame, it is erroneously engraved verso Sir Christopher Hatton (another favourite of Elizabeth I and Lord Chancellor from 1587-91) and applied with an old Christie’s label.

It was estimated at £2000-4000 as part of the Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) pictures sale in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, on March 13 but sold at £11,000.