- Also known as
primary name: Lanière, Nicholas
other name: Lanier, Nicholas
- individual; collector; printmaker; British; Male
- Life dates
- Musician, collector, etcher and art adviser. A member of a large musical dynasty of Huguenot origin (see Grove Dictionary). In 1616 he was appointed one of the royal lutenists (another was John Dowland), and in 1618 became Master of the Musick to Prince Charles. Music (he was a composer and singer, as well as a lutenist) remained his career, but he also had a strong amateur interest in art. He painted in oils (a self-portrait now belongs to the Faculty of Music in Oxford University, and another portrait of him by van Dyck is in Vienna), and made miniatures and etchings. Edward Norgate, who wrote a treatise Miniatura, or the art of limning, was his brother-in-law.
As a connoisseur and a royal servant he was chosen by Charles I to go to Italy three times in 1625-8 to supervise the acquisition and transport of the Mantuan ducal collection to England. As a collector he was particularly known for his love of drawings, and his star (Lugt 2885) is one of the earliest recorded collector's marks. According to Roger North, 'he used to contract for a piece [of painting for Charles I], and at the same time agree to have a good parcel of waste paper drawings, that had been collected but not much esteemed, for himself' (The Autobiography of the Hon. Roger North, ed. A.Jessop, London 1887, p.202). A letter in Italian from Lanier to Langlois shows the intense rivalry between Arundel, himself and Endymion Porter to get the pick of a new supply of drawings that Langlois had just brought to London (P.J.Mariette, Abécédario, ed.P de Chennevières & A. de Montaiglon, Paris 1859-60, V pp.329-30).
His job and salary disappeared during the Civil War, and from 1645 he seems to have based himself in Antwerp, travelling back and forth to London while pursuing a new career as a dealer or advisor in works of art. On the Restoration he recovered his old position as Master of the King's Musick, but was in poor health and died some years after. His uncle Jerome Lanier was also a well-known collector, and the two men are sometimes confused.
- Michael I.Wilson, 'Nicholas Lanier, master of the King's music', Aldershot 1994
Grove Dictionary of Music
F.J.B.Watson, Burlington Magazine, 85 1944, pp.223ff
J. Wood, 'Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) and the origins of drawing collecting in Stuart England' in C. Baker, C. Elam and G. Warwick (eds), 'Collecting Prints & Drawings in Europe c. 1500-1750', Aldershot, 2003, pp. 85-121 (on identification of star mark as Lanier's)
Lugt L.2285, 2286, 2287, 2288, 2289