Corneille de Lyon (1500 - 1575)
- The duc d'Étampes
- c. 1536 - 1540
- Oil on walnut panel
- Image size: 15.8 x 13.5 cm
Made up to, Object size: 20.8 x 14.3 cm
- Inscription: 'M. LE COMTE DE HERTFORD.'
- Sixteenth Century Gallery
- The elegant, young sitter is represented in front of a green background. He is wearing the French royal chivalric order of Saint-Michel. This order and the early identification of another version of the portrait as the Duc d'Etampes make the present identification of the sitter very likely. Jean IV de BRosse, duc d'Etampes was a member of the court of François I and married to Anne de Pisseleu, the king's mistress.
Already by 1822, the later French inscription on a lower extension to the original panel led to the sitter’s misidentification as Edward Seymour (c.1506-1552), brother of Jane Seymour, who was created Earl of Hertford (1537) and Duke of Somerset (1547). The sitter's features do not match documented portraits of Seymour. Moreover, the sitter wears the French order of Saint-Michel.The portrait was purchased by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford before 1842, who liked to claim descent from the Seymours and showed a taste for historical portraits.
At least four versions of the painting are known who have all been identified with different personalities at some time. A version in the Louvre is erroneously labeled by an inscription as king François I; a version that was in the Choiseul-Gouffier collection in 1912 was formerly identified as François Gouffier. A version on the Parisian art market in 2013 (de Jonckheere) was probably correctly identified as the Duc d'Etampes, a theory that has also led to the identification of the sitter in the Wallace Collection portrait. The present painting is usually considered as the best version of the portrait. It can be dated to the late 1530s on stylistic grounds.