François Clouet (c. 1510 - 1572)
- Mary, Queen of Scots
- c. 1560 - 1580
- Oil on oak panel
- Image size: 29 x 25.3 cm
Made up to, Object size: 34.2 x 25.3 cm
- Inscription: '.MARIE.STVART.REYNE.DESCOSSE. / VEVFE.DE.FRANCOIS.SECOND. / ROY.DE.FRANCE.'
- Sixteenth Century Gallery
- The portrait is an old copy after a drawing by François Clouet in the Harvard Art Museums (inv. 1971.30) showing Mary Stuart as a widow after the death of her husband François II. It was acquired out of antiquarian interest, not for its artistic value, by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford. In its dramatic simplicity it accorded well with the later Romantic cult that grew around Mary Stuart at the time.
Mary Stuart (1542-87), daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, became Queen of Scotland shortly after her birth and was betrothed to the future François II. She married in 1558, only to become a widow two years later, and returned to Scotland where in 1565 she married Henry, Earl of Darnley (d.1567), and then in 1567 James, Earl of Bothwell (marriage dissolved 1570). Her Catholicism and claim to the English throne brought her into conflict with Elizabeth I and led to her abdication, captivity and eventual execution. Mary is depicted in mourning dress; such images of mourning appear to have been popular and Clouet depicted other sitters in this manner.