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Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601)

Henri III published 1 August 1574

Woodcut with hand colouring | 37.4 x 28.4 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 616591

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  • An hand-coloured woodcut of Henri III, bust length, facing three-quarters left, in hat and ruff, lettering along the top and at top right and on either side of the head.

    The death of Charles IX of France in 1574 led to the unexpected accession of his younger brother as Henri III. Henri had been elected King of Poland the previous year, and his journey from Krakow back to Paris took him via Venice, where he was welcomed on 18 July with elaborate ceremonies. Cesare Vecellio, an assistant and distant relation of Titian, was an accomplished artist, and the relative crudeness of this print hints at the speed with which it was produced, being published just 14 days after Henri's entry to Venice. It is the only known impression of the print, and one of very few coloured prints from Cassiano's collection. The inscription shows that Vecellio had a shop in the Frezzeria by 1574, considerably earlier than previously thought. A copy of the print with German text was made in the same year.

    This print is lettered across the top: "LA VERA EFFIGIE DEL CHRISTIAN.MO HENRICO III / RE DE FRANZA ET DE POLONIA"; at the upper right: "A' SVA MAESTA' CHRISTMA.. // [followed by column of verse] All'apparir del Rè de' Franchi altero, ... / Nettare corse, & pioue ambrosia il cielo."; at the lower left: "IN VENETIA IN FREZ / ZARIA PER CESARE / VICELLIO"; at the lower right: ".15.7.4 .P.o AGOS."

    This 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).

    or 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. 1227.

    From the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-22 October 1657); inherited by his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606-1689); sold by Carlo Antonio's grandson to Clement XI, 1703; acquired by Cardinal Alessandro Albani by 1714, from whom purchased by George III in 1762

  • Medium and techniques

    Woodcut with hand colouring


    37.4 x 28.4 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Category
    Object type(s)