Nicholas Lanier was the son of John Lanier, who was the son of Nicholas Lanier the Elder. He was first taught by his father, John, who played the sackbut. In 1613 he composed a masque for the marriage of the Earl of Somerset jointly with Giovanni Coperario and others. He also wrote music and made sets for Ben Jonson's The Masque of Augurs and Lovers Made Men.
From 1625 he made a series of visits to Italy to collect paintings for King Charles I, including most of the art collection of the Dukes of Mantua. During this time he heard the new Italian music being written by the likes of Claudio Monteverdi. This led to him being one of the first English composers to introduce monody and recitative to England.
Lanier died in 1666 in East Greenwich. One of his grandfather's direct descendants was Tennessee Williams.
- Callon, Gordon J., Nicholas Lanier: The complete works, (1994), Severinus Press, ISBN 0-86314-224-9.
|New title||Master of the King's Music
(role abolished 1649–1660)