Corneille de la Haye, called Corneille de Lyon (The Hague 1500/10-1575 Lyon)
Corneille de la Haye, called Corneille de Lyon (The Hague 1500/10-1575 Lyon)

Portrait of the duc d'Étampes, bust-length, in a black tunic with a gold chain, white collar and plumbed black hat

Corneille de la Haye, called Corneille de Lyon (The Hague 1500/10-1575 Lyon)
Portrait of the duc d'Étampes, bust-length, in a black tunic with a gold chain, white collar and plumbed black hat
oil on panel
6½ x 5½ in. (16.5 x 13.7 cm.)
Georges de Monbrison, Château de Saint-Roche, Le Pin, Tarn-et-Garonne, c. 1904.
Eugène Kraemer, Paris, before 1913.
Leopold Hirsch, London.
with Jacques Seligmann, New York.
Mrs. Arthur Lehman, New York, 1929, and by descent.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 23 May 1997, lot 80.
with Richard Green, London, where acquired by John Deleage.
G. Brière, Catalogue des Peintures, Louvre, I, Ecole Française, Paris, 1924, p. 280, as a replica of the Louvre version.
L. Dimier, Histoire de la Peinture de Portrait en France au XVIe Siècle, Paris and Brussels, 1925, II, p. 76, no. 299, as a copy after the original in The Wallace Collection which he attributes to the anonymous Master of Rieux de Châteauneuf.
Wallace Collection catalogues, Pictures and Drawings, London, 1928, p. 62, as a version of The Wallace Collection portrait.
C. Sterling and H. Adhémar, La Peinture au Musée du Louvre; Ecole Française, XIVe, XVe et XVIe Siècles, Paris, 1965, p. 30, under no. 35 as a replica.
C. Virch, The Adele and Arthur Lehman Collection, New York, 1965, pp. 41-42, illustrated.
The Frances and John L. Loeb Collection, 1982, no. 2, illustrated. A. Dubois de Groër, Corneille de La Haye, dit Corneille de Lyon, Paris, 1996, p. 155, under no. 46 as a replica.
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Les primitifs Français, 1904, no. 161, as datable to c. 1548.

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Lot Essay

The present painting is an autograph replica of the portrait in The Wallace Collection, London, of which another version exists in the Louvre, Paris, Inv. no. 3258 (A.D. de Groër, op. cit., pp. 53-57, nos. 46 and 46a). De Groër dates all of these compositions to between 1536 and 1540. Both the Wallace and Louvre paintings have inscriptions identifying their sitters as 'Le Comte de Hertford' and 'François I Roy de Fr' respectively; however, neither is tenable. The Wallace panel's inscription appears on an old extension to the panel, and was most likely added at an early point in the object's history, after it had left France. As De Groër has noted, many of Corneille's panels were sent to England, where the identities of their sitters were soon forgotten. In this case, the portrait became associated with Edward Seymour (c. 1506-1552), 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford and 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache. The brother of Jane Seymour, Edward would have been in his early thirties when the present portrait was painted and could thus be the sitter. However, while the man portrayed here is around this age, the fact that he wears the order of Saint-Michel throws this identification into question. While the relationship between Henry VIII and François Ier had become amicable by this time, it is highly improbable that Hertford would have been awarded this order, and one wonders when he would have had the opportunity to sit for Corneille. The Louvre inscription can be discounted outright as the likeness bears little resemblance to the French king.

When exhibited in 1904, the present portrait was catalogued as of Jean de Brosse (1505-1564), seigneur de Penthiève and later duc d'Étampes, and it is this identification that is now universally accepted. Born in Lamballe, Jean de Brosse is best known as the husband of the François Ier's official mistress, Anne d'Heilly. On 23 June 1534, the king gave the couple the county of Etampes, which was subsequently raised to ducal status. Following the death of François Ier in 1547, both the duke and duchess d'Étampes were ostracized by the new king Henri II and his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Jean de Brosse would eventually reclaim his position at court following the death of Henri II in 1559 and the subsequent banishment of Diane from court at the behest of Catherine de Medici. As the husband of the king's favorite, Jean de Brosse would certainly have merited the Order of Saint-Michel. Moreover, comparison with a drawing of the duc d'Étampes by Jean Clouet in the Musée Condé, Chantilly (inv. no. 27), supports this identification.

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