Exceptional Portrait Miniature of a 'Lady of Quality'
This is an exceptional portrait miniature, dating to the late 16th century. The portrait is delicately painted on vellum (laid onto card). The sitter is not identified but an inscription gives her age as (Aet) 24. She is a very fine piece, housed in a turned boxwood frame. The back has not been opened by me but comes with an invoice and certificate by a top specialist who examined and sold this painting in 2002. The sitter was just identified as a 17th century "Une Dame de qualite" of the English school. I love research and with most portraits, little clues are included to help the art detective. In this instance, I believe she is of the Royal French court of King Henry IV. The style of hair, ruff and pearl clusters all fit with those found on the portraits of Gabrielle d'Estrées. She is given her age at 24, Gabrielle was born in 1573 so I have surmised this portrait to have been painted in 1597. Sadly Gabrielle died two years later in 1599. In this portrait she also wears a necklace or collar of pearls, holding up a gold Jewell, the Jewell is set with diamonds with points upwards (not cut). This may be her famous gold and diamond star pendant. Other portraits of her can be found on the following links here, here and here. It is my firm opinion she is French and one of the Royal mistresses of King Henry IV, or one of the Flying Squadron of Catherine de' Medici.
OBJECT: Portrait Miniature
DATE: c. 1597 (frame later 18th century?)
SIZE: 64mm x 54mm x 8mm (45mm x 35mm)
WEIGHT: 13.4 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. European Private Collection, France.