Portrait of Marguerite d'Angouleme, Queen of Navarre

French (Limoges)
about 1540-1550
Made at Limoges (France)

Object Place: Europe, Limoges, France


Other (Overall): 9.2cm (3 5/8in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Painted enamel and gilding on copper; wooden frame

On View

Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)





Portrait of Marguerite d’Angouleme, Queen of Navarre (1492-1549), depicted in a 3/4 view, wearing a black wimple and robe against a blue ground; double lines of gilding, black between, at edge. Set in a wood frame, partially gilded (one scroll broken).

Marguerite was a true Renaissance woman, sister to King Francis I, poet, diplomat, religious reformer, and patron of the arts. This enamel portrait, derived from a drawing attributed to François Clouet, shows her in elegant black but probably also in a period of mourning as indicated by her headdress. Making striking use of the enamel medium to represent her fair skin and blue eyes, her likeness is set on a deep blue filed evoking precious lapis lazuli. The Renaissance Revival frame dates to the late 18th century when it was in the collection of Horace Walpole.


Eighteenth-century paper pasted to back of frame, giving Margaret's history, in Horace Walpole's hand.


Horace Walpole (b. 1717 - d. 1797), Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London; May 16, 1842, Strawberry Hill sale, Robins, London, lot 33, to Fuller for 20 gn. Hollingworth Magniac (d. by 1892), Colworth, Bedfordshire; July 2 and 4, 1892, posthumous Magniac sale, Christie's, London, lot 397. 1947, Paul Drey Gallery, New York; 1947, sold by Drey to the MFA for $900. (Accession Date: December 11, 1947).

Credit Line

H. E. Bolles Fund