The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Jean de Thou, seigneur de Bonneuil
  • Circle of François Clouet (c. 1510 - 1572)
  • Jean de Thou, seigneur de Bonneuil
  • France
  • mid-1570s or later
  • Miniature
  • Oil on card
  • Image size: 12.5 x 9.5 cm
    Frame size: 17.5 x 12.4 cm
  • Inscription: 'ieun de thou / seigneur de (Bo)nneuil fils / aisné (a second e added but scored through) du premier / president de Thou'. Probably in an 18th century hand
    Inscription: 'vivant en 1642 sous / le regne de Louis XIII' In a smaller later hand
    Label: '4885' Scored through
  • M263
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The inscription on the back of this miniature identifies the sitter as Jean de Thou (1537/8-1579). The inscription may be regarded as trustworthy since Jean de Thou, a lesser-known member of a noble family from the region of Orléans, would not have been used later to provide an interesting identity for an anonymous portrait.

    Although not specifically mentioned in biographical accounts of the de Thou family, information on Jean de Thou can be found in a collection of poems published immediately after his death and in later annotated versions of the autobiography of his brother, the famous historian Jacques-Auguste de Thou (1553-1617). Son of Christophe de Thou (1508-1582), Jean de Thou held the offices of Conseiller au Parlement and Maître des requêtes and died in 1579 aged forty-one.

    While the identification of the sitter can be considered reliable the attribution of the miniature is more difficult. It has traditionally been associated with the style of the Clouets. Jean Clouet and his son François are today credited with many masterworks of French sixteenth-century portraiture. Very little, however, is known about these two painters. Their dates and places of birth are still unknown and few signed works survive.

    The portrait of Jean de Thou is based on a drawing attributed to an anonymous painter from the immediate circle of François Clouet, the so-called Anonyme Lécurieux. Like the drawing, the miniature is close in style to the few signed works by François Clouet but not enough to justify an attribution to him.