This drawing and the following lot were part of a group of eleven drawings by François Clouet which probably came from the collection of Catherine de Médicis and which were bought in Paris by Nikolaï Nikolaïevitch Raevsky, a Russian general who led the army which took Paris in 1814. Besides the present drawings, only one other from the Raevsky group is known today, a presumed portrait of Louis de Bourbon, duc de Montpensier, now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (A. Zvereva, Portraits dessinés de la cour des Valois. Les Clouet de Catherine de Médicis, Paris, 2011, no. DI 20). The three drawings, presumably the others in the group as well, have been laid down on canvas, heavily retouched in bodycolor and red chalk at an unknown date, but probably during the 19th century.
Alexandra Zvereva has suggested that the present drawing represents Henri de France (1551-1589), the future King Henri III, brother of King Charles IX represented in the next lot. The boy, who holds a medallion, probably an image of his father King Henri II, seems to be seven or eight years old, which dates the drawing to 1558-59. For an earlier portrait of Henri, executed circa 1556, and now in the British Museum, London, see Zvereva, op. cit., no. 257.