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François Quesnel


Quesnel Drawing - Portrait Of A Young Woman With A Fan-shaped Lace Collar And Pearl Necklace by Attributed to Francois Quesnel

Portrait Of A Young Woman With A Fan-shaped Lace Collar And Pearl Necklace

Portrait of a bearded man with ruff

Portrait of a bearded man with ruff

François Quesnel (ca. 1543–1619) was a French painter of Scottish extraction. The son of the French painter Pierre Quesnel and his Scottish wife Madeleine Digby, born in Edinburgh while his father worked for Mary of Guise, Quesnel found patronage at the French court of Catherine de Medici and her son, Henri III (illustration). He married Charlotte Richandeau, with whom he had four children. A widower, he remarried in 1584 Marguerite Le Masson, who gave him ten more children, among whom were Nicolas and Augustin, painters, and Jacques, bookseller.

In Paris he worked as a decorator and a designer of cartoons for tapestry, but it is as a portrait painter, both in oils and in delicately tinted pencil or red and black chalk, that he is chiefly remembered. Some portraits were engraved by Thomas de Leu and Michel Lasne, and in 1609 he drew a map of Paris for engraving by Pierre Vallet.[3] He died in Paris.

Tapestry designs

In 1585 François provided a cartoon for a tapestry of Christ preaching on the steps of the Temple for the Church of Saint Madeleine in Paris. In August 1586, François contracted to provide designs for tapestries of the Life of the Virgin for Renée of Guise Lorraine, Abbess of the Convent of Saint-Pierre-les-Dames at Reims and sister of his father's employer in Scotland, Mary of Guise (who was buried in the Convent). The eight tapestries and his cartoons were to be 1.5 ells in height, and 10.25 ells in length. Each was to include the heraldy of the Abbess in the centre. The cost of this design work was 5 ecu sols per Paris ell. These tapestries following his designs were woven in Paris.[4]


Thomas, Andrea, Princelie Majesty, Birlinn (2005), 85.
See Catherine de' Medici's patronage of the arts.
Brugerolles & Guillet, The Renaissance in France, (1995), 212–215.
Grodecki, Catherine, ed., Histoire de l' Art au XVIe siècle: Documents du Minutier Central des Notaires de Paris, vol. 1, Archives Nationales (1985), 290-291, 314 nos. 410. 411, 412, 470
The King wears the cordon bleu of his Ordre du Saint-Esprit, inaugurated in 1578 (Louvre Museum database).


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