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Attributed to Leonard Gaultier (c. 1561-1635)

Kings of France from Pharamond to Henri III c.1574-1589

Engraving | RCIN 616267

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  • Engravings of the early kings of France. A series of seven prints containing the tabulated portraits of the kings of France from Pharamond, King of the Franks (d.427 AD) to Henry III, King of France (c.1589). Each print depicts the bust length portrait of a monarch within an individual border with their title below, numbered 1-62, with the exception of Pharamond, King of the Franks and Pepin the Short, King of the Franks who are each depicted in whole length. The basis for Hennin’s attribution to Gaultier is unclear but is followed here for want of a better alternative. The reign of the last king depicted, Henri III, presumably indicates a date range for the production of the series. Similar images suggest a common source. The heads closely resemble the woodcut and engraved portraits in the Abbregé de l’Histoire Françoyse, avec les effigies de roys, depuis Pharamond iusques au Roy Henry iiii (Paris 1599), in which a bust portrait of each king is positioned at the top of a page decorated with woodcut ornament, below which is letterpress biography. Another publication by Bernardo Giunti, the Brefve cronicque des faits illustres des Roys de France (Venice 1597) contains engravings of 63 kings in three-quarter length, many of which are very close to those catalogued here. These prints are known as a Chronologie Collée: a French printmaking phenomenon in which a series of small portraits were printed in a tabular format, designed to be cut down and adhered into a volume with accompanying text. Prints such as these were designed for volumes such as Le Théâtre d'honneur de plusieurs princes anciens et modernes (c.1618) and ‎Chronologie et sommaire des Souverains Pontifes, anciens Pères, Empereurs, Roys, Princes et hommes illustres depuis le commencement du monde iusques à l'an de grâce 1622‎ (1622). The print formed part of an album of French royal portrait prints assembled by Cassiano dal Pozzo in Rome and described in an early nineteenth-century inventory of prints in George III’s library as Kings of France, Queens and other illustrious Personages. The album was arranged chronologically, with kings and their consorts together, while the latter part of the album was devoted to the female aristocracy of France. It was dismantled later in the nineteenth century and its prints incorporated into the series of Engraved Royal Portraits (organised dynastically). For more information see Mark McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. I: Ceremonies, Costumes, Portraits and Genre, 3 vols, Royal Collection Trust 2017, part of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: A Catalogue Raisonné, cat. no. 1207.-1213.
  • Medium and techniques