About this artwork

The daughter of a French duke, Mary of Guise had just been widowed when she was married to James V to strengthen the alliance between France and Scotland. Their two sons died in infancy and James died a few days after their daughter, Mary, was born in 1542. Mary of Guise chose to stay in Scotland, ruling as Regent to protect her daughter's interests. Although courageous and determined, her efforts to keep the country in the French Roman Catholic sphere were unsuccessful and she failed to stem the rising tide of Protestantism.

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Corneille de Lyon

Corneille de Lyon

Born in The Hague, little is known of this artist's early life or training. By 1533 he was established as a portrait painter in Lyon, France, where he was known as 'Corneille de La Hay' (of the Hague). In 1543 he was appointed official portrait painter to the Dauphin, later King Henri II. Whilst it is now difficult to identify his work, he undoubtedly had a very high reputation in his lifetime. In those portraits that are associated with him, the sitter is depicted naturalistically and shown against a bright blue or green background.