About this artwork

This intricate portrait shows François II, the son of Catherine de Medici and the first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1559, a year after his marriage, he succeeded to the French throne. This could have proved a very important marriage as future kings of France would not only have had a claim to the Scottish throne but also the throne of England, via Mary’s great-grandfather Henry VII. However, François died in 1560 aged just sixteen. This enamelled portrait shows the young king with an ermine trimmed coat and beret. The detailing of his face is exceptional. Limoges enamelled portraits such as this from the Royal court would most likely have been intended to be displayed within richly decorated palace interiors.

Updated before 2020

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