Probably painted c.1827. François Ier (1494–1547), King of France from 1515, was renowned for his affable character and love of the arts. He is shown with his sister Marguerite d’Angoulême (1492–1549) who was also a patron of the arts as well as a poet and author of L’Heptaméron, a collection of tales modelled on the Decameron of Boccaccio. By her marriage to Henri d’Albret, King of Navarre, she was an ancestress of the Bourbon kings of France. The subject of Bonington’s painting is based on the discovery, recorded in 1724, of a verse scratched supposedly by François Ier himself on a window pane at the château de Chambord: Souvent femme varie/Mal habil qui s’y fie (Woman is changeable/Ill-advised is he who trusts her). The composition is indebted to an earlier painting of the same subject by Fleury Richard which is now in the Musée Napoléon, Arenenberg.
Where to see this painting?
The Wallace Collection
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