Numbered in graphite at upper right, "75"; inscribed on secondary support, in pen and brown ink at lower right, "Duchesse de Baufort, favorite Henry 4"; on tertiary support, in pen and black ink at upper right, "5A"; on verso of secondary support, in graphite at lower left corner, "ChW"; on verso of tertiary support, in graphite at upper center, "Portrait of Gabrielle d'Estrees / Duchess of Beaufort (favorite of Henry IV / by Clouet)".
Watermark: on secondary support, bunch of grapes; on tertiary support, fragments of a shield.
The inscription identifies the sitter as the Duchess of Beaufort, that is, Gabrielle d'Estrees (1571-1599). Her likeness is known from the many drawn, engraved, and painted portraits of her dating to the 1590s and into the early years of the seventeenth century, among which there is great variance of appearance. The Morgan sheet bears closest resemblance to a painted portrait by an unknown artist now in the Musée Condé, Chantilly, which shows the sitter bust length wearing a lacy ruff, with pearls adorning her ears, upswept hair, and gown. The present drawn portrait contains the same upswept hairstyle adorned with jewels, widow's peak and a high chignon, rosy cheeks, and a ruff. It lacks, however, details such as the lace trimming of the ruff and the gown is sketched in but not finished. The general likeness suggests that this sheet could indeed be a depiction of Gabrielle d'Estrees, but one derived from an established image. The schematic approach to the garment, which is awkwardly drawn and may have been traced, indicates that the drawing was likely made as a workshop replica. The inscription, with its misspelling of the sitter's surname (Baufort), further suggests it was not closely copied from Quesnel's drawing in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Clouet, Jean, -1541, School of, Formerly attributed to.
Clouet, François, -1572, School of, Formerly attributed to.
Du Bouchet, Henri, 1593-1654, former owner.
Du Bouchet, Jean-Jacques, former owner.
Wickert, Charles, -1918, former owner.
Hodgkins, Edward M., former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.