The last surviving contemporary portrait of Catherine de’ Medici, queen consort and wife of king Henry II of France, will return to its former home in London. According to a report by the Guardian, the rarely seen painting, which dates to 1561 and shows Catherine with four of her children, will go on view at Strawberry Hill House in the British capital, where it once hung with other works in the storied collection of the 18th-century writer and politician Horace Walpole.
The portrait, which was among works from Walpole’s holdings that were dispersed in an 1842 auction, has now been placed under public ownership as part of the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. The arrangement enables families to pay inheritance taxes, in whole or in part, by transferring “important works of art and heritage objects” to the public domain.
The work, attributed to the workshop of French court painter Francois Clouet, will go on permanent display in Strawberry Hill House when it reopens on May 17, according to the Art Newspaper. Located in Twickenham, the gothic revival house is was opened to the public as a museum in 2010, following a $14-million restoration effort.
Catherine was the mother of three kings of France, including Charles IX, who assumed the throne in 1560 with his mother as regent. Charles IX is shown in the portrait with his mother’s arm around him. Also depicted are his siblings the future King Henry III, Duke of Anjou; Marguerite de Valois, who would become Queen of Navarre; and François-Hercule, Duke of Anjou and Alençon.