Petite Portrait of Henry III, King Who Challenged Sexual Norms in 16th-Century France, Discovered

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Last year, British art dealer and broadcaster Philip Mould purchased a rare miniature portrait sight unseen.

Though the seller had listed the work as a likeness of Elizabethan adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh, Mould had his doubts.

“From what one could tell, [this portrait] had an appealing and curious aspect … which required further investigation,” he tells the Telegraph’s Dalya Alberge.

The “Fake or Fortune” host’s hunch regarding the petite painting’s provenance proved correct. As Sherna Noah reports for the British Press Association (PA), research conducted by Mould and art historian Celine Cachaud has identified the work’s subject not as Raleigh, but as Henry III, the controversial Valois king who ruled France between 1574 and 1589.

In addition to confirming the portrait’s sitter, the analysis revealed concrete evidence of the painting’s authorship. Per a statement from the art dealer’s London gallery, Philip Mould & Company, when a conservator removed the two-inch-tall work from its locket-like frame, they found a surprise on its back: the date 1578 and the signature of Jean de Court, an acclaimed court painter who also produced portraits of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I.

Smithsonianmag



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