Lot 8. Attributed to François Quesnel (Edinburgh 1543 - 1619 Paris), Portrait of a French noblewoman, half-length, wearing a ruff, pearls, a cross-shaped ribbon, and holding a fan, with an old handwritten label on the reverse of the original canvas: De[...] nn. Delbe / fe[..] M.re Si[...] / Delb[...] seigneur de / Villes[cenie?]; oil on its original canvas, 87.3 x 62.3 cm.; 34 3/8 x 24 1/2 in. Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's 2018.
Provenance: Anonymous sale, Monaco, Sotheby's, 30 June 1995, lot 9 (as Attributed to François Quesnel);
With Colnaghi, London, by December 1995 (as François Quesnel, when advertised in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXXVII, no. 1113).
Exhibited: New York, Colnaghi, The French Portrait: 1550-1850, 10 January - 10 February 1996 (as François Quesnel).
Literature: A. Wintermute, The French Portrait: 1550-1850, New York 1996, pp. 14 and 90, reproduced in colour p. 15, plate 2 (as François Quesnel).
Note: François Quesnel was born in Edinburgh, where his father, Pierre, was court painter to James V of Scotland. François' name first appears in French royal accounts in 1572, where he seems primarily to have been a draftsman specialising in trois crayons portraits, particularly of Henry III and members of his court. The present likeness is one of very few painted works attributed to the artist, characteristic in the fine handling of the sitter's face and hands, while her body and elements of her costume appear more schematic and stylised.
Sotheby's. Old Master Paintings, London, 02 may 2018, 10:30 AM