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GERMAIN PILON (C.1540-1590)

Catherine de Medici

circa 1583

RCIN 20796

The sculptural nature of clothing at this date can be particularly well conveyed through the portrait bust format. Here the exaggeratedly large padded sleeve-rolls and deeply hollowed pleats of Catherine de’ Medici’s ruff are especially striking from the side. Her jewel-set bodice emphasises the formidable French queen’s love of jewellery. Several pearls owned by her were passed to her daughter-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scots, then subsequently to Queen Elizabeth I, and are believed to survive today in the Imperial State Crown.

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