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Workshop of François Quesnel, Portrait of a Young Woman

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Young Woman
Artist Workshop of François Quesnel
Artist dates 1543 - 1619
Date made about 1585-9
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 46.6 × 35.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1921
Inventory number NG3582
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Young Woman
Workshop of François Quesnel

A young woman, her lips curving slightly, looks sideways. Her eyes are blue, and her hair – which has been overpainted greyish brown – seems to have originally been light brown. She wears a striking black and white outfit; her bodice is extremely tight and her large ruff has points. The small cape over her shoulders is perhaps what was known as a partlet, and the white fur around her arms appears to be the turned back lining of her dress.

We don't know who she is but the style of her dress was fashionable in France in the second half of the 1580s. She is evidently not a lady of very high rank or great wealth: portraits of royal women or those from the upper levels of the aristocracy show them wearing more elaborate clothing and jewellery.

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