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Marie de Guise and Cultural Transfers

Drawing Blood : The Visual Patronage of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny, Maréchal of France, in Relation to James V’s French Sojourn of 1536

“Drawing Blood”: le mécénat d’art visuel par Robert Stuart et le séjour en France de Jacques V en 1536
Bryony Coombs

Résumés

Robert Stuart fut un important commandant franco-écossais qui prit part aux guerres d’Italie menées par la France dans la première moitié du seizième siècle. Dans la hiérarchie militaire française, il fut élevé au rang prestigieux de Maréchal de France. Cet article étudie le mécénat de Robert en le mettant en relation avec sa carrière de 1508 à 1544, telle qu’elle nous apparaît dans les sources documentaires. Il s’intéresse particulièrement aux chantiers qu’il lança pour agrandir ses deux résidences principales : le château d’Aubigny-sur-Nère et celui de La Verrerie, et aux œuvres architecturales et décoratives qui en résultèrent. Cet article s’interroge sur les liens que l’on peut établir entre le vaste chantier entrepris à La Verrerie et la visite royale de Jacques V à l’occasion du tour de France du roi d’Écosse en 1536-1537. Il soutient que cet immense chantier, et notamment les œuvres architecturales peintes dont il se compose, a été réalisé pour préparer l’événement. Il argue également que l’iconographie qui met fortement l’accent sur la lignée Stuart a été commandée en pensant au visiteur royal écossais. « Drawing blood » fait aussi référence à l’insistance visuelle placée sur la descendance royale et ses revendications héréditaires. Cette étude souligne non seulement l’importance du mécénat de Robert pour construire son identité dans le contexte de la cour de France, mais également le soin qu’il attacha à s’assurer que ses liens étroits avec la maison royale d’Écosse soient maintenus. La réaction de Jacques V face à cet accueil à La Verrerie, ainsi que l’influence de sa visite sur les œuvres architecturales et décoratives dont il lança le chantier à son retour en Écosse, sont également envisagées. Enfin, le rôle de Robert comme intermédiaire entre l’esthétique de la Renaissance italienne et la France est étudiée ici pour la première fois.

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Robert Stuart: Maréchal of France and Kinsman of James V

  • 1 Robert was the fourth of five sons of John Stewart of Darnley, 1st count of Lennox (d. 1495) and Ma (...)
  • 2 For Robert Stuart, see: Lady Elizabeth Cust, Some Accounts of the Stuarts of Aubigny in France, 142 (...)
  • 3 William Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms and Lifeguards in France: From their formation until th (...)
  • 4 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., 2011, p. 48. De Vogüé suggests that the marriage took place in 1504 wh (...)

1Robert was born in Scotland c. 1470 and is first mentioned in 1489, in a letter from James IV, which documents the granting of a pardon to Robert and three of his brothers, for having held out Dumbarton Castle against royal forces during the previous year.1 Robert travelled to France shortly after his father’s death in 1495 and took up service in the French army under Bérault Stuart, fourth seigneur d’Aubigny.2 He appears as lieutenant to his brother, William d’Oizon, in the muster roll of the Scots men-at-arms in 1498.3 It was likely c. 1503 that Robert was contracted in marriage to his cousin, Anne Stuart, the only daughter of Bérault and his wife, Anne de Maumont. Robert was thereafter often referred to as seigneur de Saint Quentin in her right.4

  • 5 Jean d’Auton, Chroniques de Louis XII, ed. Maulde-La-Clavière, Paris, H. Laurens, 1889-1895, I, p. (...)
  • 6 D’Auton notes that Robert knew he could not take the city by force alone, but used his skills as a (...)
  • 7 W. Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms, op. cit., I, p. 176; British Library, Additional Charters, (...)

2Robert is frequently mentioned by Jean d’Auton in his chronicles of the Italian wars of Louis XII.5 He was recorded as having participated in the siege of Novara, and as assisting in the capture of Ludovico Sforza in 1500. In June of the following year he was sent, with forty men-at-arms, to Nola which he found to be heavily guarded. Auton records that Robert won the town over, describing how the town surrendered to his “courtoise maniere, visage riant et doulce parolles.”6 A muster roll of the 3 January 1507 stated that he, messire Robert Stuart, chevalier, seigneur de Saint Quentin, was captain of 96 lances and 198 archers at this time.7 In April 1507, Robert was summoned by Charles d’Amboise to assist in the siege of Genoa and here Robert is said to have distinguished himself by storming a bastion on foot with eighty of his archers.

  • 8 Bérault died in Corstorphine. Fraser, The Lennox, op. cit., II, p. 346.
  • 9 Andrew Stuart, Genealogical History of the Stewarts, from the Earliest Period of their Authentic Hi (...)
  • 10 This document is in the private archive at La Verrerie and transcribed in E. Bonner, Documents, op. (...)
  • 11 W. Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms, op. cit., I, p. 84.
  • 12 He was appointed captain following the death of his brother, Jean Stuart d’Oizon in 1512. W. Forbes (...)
  • 13 He was the commander whom Gaston de Foix, duc de Nemours, had left in charge. Jacques de Mailles, H (...)
  • 14 Robert de la Mark Fleuranges, Les Mémoires du Maréchal de Fleuranges, ed. Lambert, Paris, Rue d’Anj (...)

3In 1508, James IV wrote to Anne of Brittany, sending his condolences regarding Bérault’s untimely death in Scotland and commending to her protection the brothers Robert and John Stuart, being the closest relations to the deceased knight.8 Anne took James IV’s request seriously and had John appointed as captain of the Scots guards, and put Robert in possession of Aubigny, for which he did homage on 21 August 1508.9 He was also appointed to the position of captain of Harfleur and Montivilliers in Normandy.10 On 14 May 1509, at the Battle of Agnadello, Robert and the Scots men-at-arms assisted in the victory over the Venetians.11 Robert remained in Italy with his battalion for the period of 1511 to 1513.12 On 4 October 1512, he was appointed captain of the Scots guards, having earlier in that year assisted in the taking of the Lombard town of Brescia. In relation to this, he is mentioned in the memoires of Bayard, who described “le Seigneur d’Aubigny,” as his “grād compaignon & parfaict amy.”13 He is also mentioned in the memoires of Fleuranges as having fought with his hundred lances under the duc de Nemours at the Battle of Ravenna, in April 1512.14

  • 15 E. Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 54.
  • 16 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, London, His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1920 (...)
  • 17 The date Robert was awarded this honour is unknown, but it was likely to have been during the reign (...)

4After Robert was ordered to garrison the town of Brescia, he spent eight months besieged by the Pope, the emperor, the king of Spain, the Venetians, the Swiss, and the Italian communes.15 Famine and disease eventually forced him to surrender the town and enabled him to return to France in 1513. Robert was by this time not alone among the French commanders in feeling discontent regarding the lack of support and reinforcement that had been made available by Louis XII. This is recorded in a newsletter sent to England from Paris, dated to February 1513, which states that “the king would hardly speak to the captains who returned from Italy [...] and if the queen had not openly given them money, monsieur d’Aubigny and the others would have given up serving. They wish the king were dead and Angoulesme [Francis I] were in his place.”16 The extent to which this can be taken literally is hard to determine, as it would seem that only a year later the king demonstrated his gratitude in a remarkable way, appointing Robert as a maréchal of France.17

  • 18 Gabriel Daniel, Histoire de la milice françoise et des changements qui s’y sont faits depuis l’étab (...)
  • 19 This warranted him a mention in Sir Robert Lindsay’s poem, The Historie of Squyer Meldrum.
  • 20 Letters and Papers, op. cit., I, no. 3348. For Gringore’s text and illuminations that recorded Mary (...)

5If further proof were needed regarding the high esteem in which Louis XII held Robert one need look no further than September 1513, when Louis issued a decree of naturalisation to all Scots in France. In this decree, Louis ends by explaining that these privileges were granted at the request of “the archbishop of Bourges, bishop of Murra, now ambassador to our most dear beloved cousin and ally, the king of Scotland, and our beloved and loyal counsellor and chamberlain, Robert Stuart, chevalier, sieur d’Aubigny, captain of our Scottish guard, and of the 100 lances of the same nation.”18 Robert was again in command during the campaign in Picardy against the English.19 Besides military responsibilities Robert was also required to undertake ceremonial duties in his position as captain of the Scots guard. In October 1514, he was present at the marriage of Louis XII and Mary Tudor, and he rode at the head of the archers guard when the queen entered Paris on 6 November of that year.20 On 1 January 1515, Louis XII died. It appears, however, that the new king, Francis I, continued to show great favour towards Robert.

  • 21 Les œuvres de Jean Marot, Paris, A. U. Coustelier, 1723, p. 208.
  • 22 Papers Relative to the Royal Guard of Scottish Archers in France: From Original Documents, ed. A. M (...)
  • 23 Francisque Michel, Les Écossais en France, Les Français en Écosse, 2 vols, London, Trübner & Co, 18 (...)
  • 24 Letters and Papers, op. cit., III, no. 870; Bernard de Montfauçon, Les monumens de la monarchie fra (...)

6The Scots guard played a prominent part in the grand procession accompanying the new king as he entered Paris after his coronation in January 1515. Francis I confirmed Robert in his post as one of the four maréchaux de France, and continued to entrust to him with a position of high command. In accordance with Louis’s wishes, the French army embarked on an Italian campaign on 10 August 1515. It was forced to take an unconventional route, by steep mountain paths, into Italy in order to outmanoeuvre the twenty-thousand strong Swiss army which guarded the normal passes. Their tactics where a success, and Robert and Bayard took Prospero Colonna, the Italian general, by surprise.21 One of the accounts records that Robert was Prospero’s captor, and delivered an eloquent speech after he was seized.22 The French army finally dealt the Swiss a terrible defeat at the Battle of Marignano, on 13 September 1515. Such was the Scottish delight on hearing this news that in Edinburgh bonfires were lit and canons were fired to celebrate the French victory.23 In 1520, Robert was honoured by being appointed as one of three judges to preside over the great tournament and pageant, the Field of the Cloth of Gold.24 At this event Francis I and Henry VIII each tried to outshine the other with dazzling tents and clothes, huge feasts, music, jousting, and games.

  • 25 Letters and Papers, op. cit., III, no. 1071.
  • 26 Two documents from the La Verrerie archives relate to these two episodes. The first, “Lettres paten (...)
  • 27 Robert appears in a contemporary panel painting at the Ashmolean Museum, labelled as “MONSSER DAVEB (...)

7Later that year, Robert undertook an embassy to Scotland. A letter from James V written to Lord Dacre on 27 November 1520 confirms his arrival.25 On 25 May 1522, he was appointed lieutenant-general of the king’s army in Italy, and on 26 October of the following year he was entrusted with the task of bringing law and order to the duchy of Burgundy.26 Late in 1524, Robert accompanied Francis I to Italy, and was present at the devastating Battle of Pavia. Robert was taken prisoner with Francis I and remained captive until they were replaced by the king’s two sons, who were sent as prisoners to Spain.27

  • 28 On this occasion his wife, Jacqueline de la Queuille, is mentioned as a lady-in-waiting, “all richl (...)
  • 29 De Montfauçon, Les monumens, op. cit., IV, p. 239.
  • 30 For the chapter of the Order of St Michel, see Revue Historique de la Noblesse, I, 89. For the arri (...)
  • 31 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 59.
  • 32 De Vogüé, art. cit., p.17. Bonner dates Robert’s death to March /April 1544. Bonner, Documents, op. (...)

8As first captain of the guard, Robert was always at close attendance to the king or queen of France and he was present at almost all state occasions of the time. He is was found at the coronation of Queen Claude in 1517, and at the coronation of Queen Eleanor in 1530.28 In 1523, he took his place among the ten peers of France at the trial of Constable de Bourbon.29 On 29 September 1527, he attended a chapter of the Order of St Michael, held at Compiégne, and in 1528 he was present when a herald, sent by Charles V, arrived at the great hall of the palace at Paris, to propose a single combat between the two great leaders.30 He was present at the wedding of the future Henri II to Catherine de Medici at Marseilles on 28 October 1533, however, it would appear that poor health prevented him from attending the marriage of James V to Princess Madeleine in Paris on 1 January 1537.31 Robert’s military prowess was next employed in Provence, from 1536-8. This campaign appears to mark the end of Robert’s public duties and at the age of approximately sixty-eight he retired. He died at the château d’Aubigny in early 1544 at the age of approximately seventy-four years.32

  • 33 The private archives at La Verrerie hold a copy of her will dated to 24 December 1516. Bonner, Docu (...)
  • 34 She bequeathed 50 livres tournois for a mass to be said everyday, for her, her father, and her pred (...)
  • 35 The date of Robert’s second marriage is not known, however Bonner’s suggestion that it was soon aft (...)
  • 36 Sir James Hamilton of Finnart (d. 1540) was a Scottish nobleman, the illegitimate son of James Hami (...)
  • 37 Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, 13 vols, Edinburgh, H. M. Gen. Register House, 187 (...)

9Robert married his cousin, Anne, the only daughter of Bérault and Anne de Maumont c. 1498. Although the date of the marriage is uncertain, Anne appears to have died young and childless at the end of 1516 or beginning of 1517.33 Her will, dictated to the notary, Jehan Lauverjat, requested she be buried in the church of Aubigny in front of the main altar.34 By 15 June 1527, Robert had remarried.35 His second wife, Jacqueline de la Queuille was from an old Auvergnat family, and on this date it is recorded that they received grant of the seigneurie of Beaumont-le-Roger in Normandy. Also in this year Robert took custody of his great-nephews Matthew and John Stewart, the sons of John Stewart, third earl of Lennox, who were sent to France after their father was killed by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart in 1526.36 Robert kept up very cordial relations with James V, accounts record gifts of horses and hounds for Robert and his wife. In one instance, on 24 February 1531-2, £126 was paid to “Johne Boy passand with certane hors and hundis send be the kingis grace to madame Dobinze.”37 In 1540, a few years prior to Robert’s death, Jacqueline de la Queuille adopted her half sister, Anne de la Queuille, perhaps as a result of the death of her mother Anne d’Espinay. This allowed Jacqueline to bestow her share of the de la Queuille property on Anne, and arrange for her marriage to Robert’s adopted grand-nephew and heir, John Stuart. Therefore, although Robert died leaving no issue by either of his marriages, he secured the continuation of the Stuart d’Aubigny line through his grand-nephew and with it the de la Queuille inheritance. Robert’s career as outlined above shows him to be a key figure in the Franco-Italian wars of the early sixteenth century. His interests in display, and his patronage of visual material, were influenced by what he saw and experienced on these military excursions.

Civic Benefaction: The Reconstruction of Aubigny-sur-Nère

  • 38 A sixteenth-century map held at the departmental archives of Cher shows the town as a strongly fort (...)

10Robert’s architectural and decorative work at his residences at Aubigny and La Verrerie did not occur in isolation, but developed after an important period of civic reconstruction at Aubigny-sur-Nère beginning in 1512. Aubigny is a small town situated on the river Nère, approximately thirty miles north of Bourges.38 Today it is renowned for its well-preserved early sixteenth-century wood-timbered buildings, which bear testimony to the important role that the Stuart family played in the patronage of the town.

  • 39 Gaspard Thaumas de la Thaumassière, Histoire de Berry, Bourges, A Jollet, 1863, III, p. IX. Fire wa (...)
  • 40 Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 150; Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 62.
  • 41 De la Thaumassière, Histoire de Berry, op. cit., III, p. IX; B. Toulier, Aubigny-Sur-Nere, op. cit. (...)

11On 11 July 1512, Aubigny suffered a terrible fire.39 The reconstruction of the town was quickly accomplished, due to support provided by Robert Stuart. Robert permitted the residents of the town to rebuild their homes with wood from three forests on his grounds.40 At the time of the fire, Robert was in Italy, not returning until April 1513. Nevertheless, permission was granted sanctioning the use of his resources. The quantity of wood required was vast and Thaumassière notes that all but two of the surrounding forests were decimated for this project.41 As seigneur d’Aubigny, Robert would have been obliged to offer assistance, yet this was not an act of generosity taken for granted. Evidence of the townspeople’s appreciation remains visible in the carved decoration on the main buildings’ façades.

  • 42 The Stuart d’Aubigny arms displayed the arms of Stuart, quartered with the royal arms of France. Ty (...)
  • 43 Although this section of the carving is now cut off by the jutting out of the wall’s surface, the l (...)
  • 44 Other buildings are later in date. The so-called house of François I situated on the corner of rue (...)
  • 45 Toulier, Aubigny-Sur-Nere, op. cit., p. 30.

12The Maison du Bailli, 13-17 rue du Bourg-Coutant, was an important building originally used by town officials. The building remains in a relatively good state of preservation. The wooden beams constructing the upper half are arranged in a St Andrews cross formation, while the wooden supports surrounding the doors, windows, and corner pillars, are intricately carved. One of the principal examples of pillar decoration is arranged around a niche, now empty, but which originally would have held a carved statue, likely figurative. Above the niche on each side of the pillar is a salamander, the emblem of Francis I. Above this is a carving of Robert’s coat of arms. Although worn, the inclusion of the Lennox element is still visible.42 Below is a letter “R.” The decoration refers to Robert Stuart and Francis I. The letters “R” and “A” are found elsewhere on the pillars, referring to Robert and his first wife, Anne. Above the niche, perpendicular to the wall, are a large “R” and an “A” joined by a love knot.43 The initials indicate a date prior to the death of Robert’s first wife, Anne, in late 1516 or early 1517.44 Of particular interest is a carved medallion framing a profile head in the style of a Renaissance portrait medal. The medallion has traditionally been identified as representing Robert Stuart.45 The carving itself is a schematic representation, devoid of any identifying characteristics, however, the medallion’s proximity to Robert’s coat of arms and his initials lends weight to this interpretation (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Details of the carved decoration on the Maison du Bailli, Aubigny-sur-Nère

Fig. 1. Details of the carved decoration on the Maison du Bailli, Aubigny-sur-Nère

© Bryony Coombs, 2007

13The church of St Martin was also damaged during the fire and the repair work again appears to have been funded by Robert. A roof-boss bearing Robert’s arms encircled by the collar of the Order of St Michael, found on the fourth bay of the aisle, testifies to this (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. The Arms of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A Roof boss in the church of St Martin, Aubigny-sur-Nère

Fig. 2. The Arms of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A Roof boss in the church of St Martin, Aubigny-sur-Nère

© Bryony Coombs, 2007

  • 46 The scenes in the window depict St Martin dividing his cloak with a pauper; Christ appearing to St (...)

14The church, parts of which date to the twelfth century, was dedicated to Saint Martin and is decorated with an impressive pair of stained glass windows displaying episodes from the life of this Saint. The windows bear the Stuart d’Aubigny arms, however, stylistic evidence dates them to the late-sixteenth century and, therefore, suggests a connection to a later member of the Stuart d’Aubigny family.46

15During the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the Stuart d’Aubigny family built two grand châteaux, one in the town of Aubigny-sur-Nère, and a second, La Verrerie, several miles to the south-east. The château in Aubigny was constructed around the same time as the rebuilding of the town after the fire of 1512 (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Gateway of the château at Aubigny-sur-Nère

Fig. 3. Gateway of the château at Aubigny-sur-Nère

© Bryony Coombs, 2007

  • 47 Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 144-147; Jean-Pierre Babelon, Le Château en (...)
  • 48 Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649-1734), was mistress of Charles II. In December 16 (...)
  • 49 The fermaillet was a buckle which featured prominently on the Stuart d’Aubigny arms. It was also us (...)
  • 50 The second and fourth carved pillars on the door are crowned by salamanders. The first is crowned b (...)
  • 51 This figure has previously been incorrectly identified as St George.

16The inclusion of the arms of Robert and his second wife, Jacqueline de la Queuille, on the keystone of the vaulted gateway indicates that it was completed c. 1525-44.47 The château has undergone much remodelling over the years, but follows a basic courtyard plan common to a number of châteaux in Berry from this period. The interior was stripped of many of its earlier features by Louise de Kérouaille, duchess of Portsmouth, a later resident. Nevertheless, a number of details, including decorative insignia, survive as indicators of the patronage of Robert and Jacqueline.48 Decorative carvings which embellish the ceiling joists of the ground floor rooms, for instance, display the fermaillet enclosing the initial “R,” and “R” and “I” joined by a love knot, and a shield with three cockleshells, all drawing attention to Robert’s patronage.49 An early sixteenth-century wooden door also survives, which is richly ornamented with decorative beasts including a salamander, the emblem of Francis I. Although worn, it is still possible to make out the initials “R” and “I” carved into decorative medallions and fleur-de-lis decorating the carved pillars.50 Lastly, an intricately engraved early sixteenth-century bronze bell survives which appears to have come from the château clock-tower. An inscription in Gothic lettering around the circumference reads “MESSIRE ROBERT STUART, CHR S AUBIGNY, [1512?].” The text is accompanied by four small vignettes: the Virgin holding a lily and the Christ Child; a Crucifixion scene with the Virgin and St John; a crucifix; and an image of the Archangel Michael.51 The juxtaposition of this last image and the letters “CHR” as a shortened form of chevalier refer to Robert as knight of the Order of Saint Michael.

A Rural Retreat: The Château de La Verrerie

  • 52 Bérault Stuart’s coat of arms appears above the doorway to the spiral staircase in the accommodatio (...)

17La Verrerie is situated beside a small lake in picturesque woodland, several miles outside of Aubigny-sur-Nère, and was designed as a retreat from which the Stuarts could enjoy their country pursuits. The château is designed in a courtyard plan, not dissimilar to that at Aubigny. It includes a pavilioned gateway, a late fifteenth-century chapel, and an early sixteenth-century Italianate gallery. The château is the result of multiple building campaigns. The chapel and the living accommodation to the east, date to the late fifteenth century, and were likely constructed for Bérault Stuart and Anne de Maumont. The gallery, and much of the decorative work, date to the early sixteenth century, evidently executed for Robert. Later additions to the south of the building date to the nineteenth century (Fig. 4).52

Fig. 4. Château de La Verrerie from the west and the gallery seen from the courtyard

Fig. 4. Château de La Verrerie from the west and the gallery seen from the courtyard

© Bryony Coombs, 2007

  • 53 Jean-Yves Ribault, “Présentation du Château de La Verrerie,” Cahiers d’archéologie et d’histoire du (...)
  • 54 Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 166-170.
  • 55 The present medallions are resin copies of the original sculptures undertaken in 1995. Badly weathe (...)

18The Renaissance gallery bears the arms of Robert and his second wife, Jacqueline, and the interior beams of the gallery are decorated with the same insignia as those found at the château at Aubigny. Documentary evidence demonstrates that the gallery was constructed between 1516-31 and likely between 1525-31.53 The columns supporting the arcade are very finely decorated, with rinceaux, arabesques, fermaillets, and are surmounted by elaborate capitals adorned with fleur-de-lis and fermaillets intertwined with various zoomorphic and vegetal motifs.54 Above each pillar decorating the façade of the gallery is a carved marble medallion, featuring the bust of a young woman encircled in an ornate frame (Fig. 5).55

Fig. 5. The sculpted Medallions and decorative pillars from the gallery at château de La Verrerie

Fig. 5. The sculpted Medallions and decorative pillars from the gallery at château de La Verrerie

© Bryony Coombs, 2009

  • 56 Other examples of stone galleries from this area, include Jacques Coeur’s Palace, the Château de la (...)
  • 57 For Italian influence during this period, see Arthur A. Tilley, The Dawn of the French Renaissance, (...)
  • 58 Sylvie Béguin, Andrea Solario en France, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1985, (...)
  • 59 On the upper façade of the gallery, however, the decorative frames for the windows include small po (...)
  • 60 The medallions may reflect a contemporary taste for Italian fashions illustrated, for instance, in (...)
  • 61 For Laurana, see George L. Hersey, Alfonso II and the Artistic Renewal of Naples, London, Yale Univ (...)
  • 62 All’antica, meaning “in the manner of the ancients was employed as a style that sought to revive t (...)

19The medallions feature female busts each wearing elaborate courtly dress and with elegantly dressed hair. The borders feature various motifs, including fleur-de-lis, fermaillets, and cockleshells. While the form of the stone gallery itself is in keeping with developments in French architecture in Berry during this period, the inclusion of decorative portrait medallions suggests influence from Italian sources.56 Many of Robert’s contemporaries employed Italianate motifs at their French residences during this period, for example the medallions of Roman emperors decorating the courtyard façade at Florimond Robertet’s Hôtel d’Alluye, and those at the château de Gaillon for Cardinal Georges d’Amboise.57 Engravings of Robertet’s grand château de Bury, furthermore, suggest that it also was ornamented with sculpted medallions.58 The sculpted medallions at La Verrerie, however, are closer to sculpted busts than to the profile portrait medallions which owe so much to the tradition of portrait medals or coins.59 They do not represent classical heroes or emperors, and do not, certainly in their present state, include textual indications as to their identity, but instead appear to celebrate an aesthetic ideal of youthful beauty and ideals in contemporary fashion.60 They represent an idealised set of figures dressed in fashionable courtly finery. The sculpted frames bear similarities to the type of glazed-terracotta ornamentation disseminated by the della Robbia workshops, while the sculpted heads themselves appear closer to the stylised busts of the Neapolitan sculptor Francesco Laurana.61 While the original program of the La Verrerie medallions is today obscure, they nevertheless suggest that Robert shared an interest in the type of Italianate architectural decoration that was favoured by his French peers. Reference to classical themes during this period was desirable as an indicator of status, authority, and learning.62

  • 63 P. J. de Bengy-Puyvallée, Mémoire historique sur le Berry et particulièrement sur quelques châteaux (...)
  • 64 Buhot de Kersers describes the gallery as being lit by eight windows, four on each side. Painted in (...)
  • 65 Two further copies of figures on foot were lent to the museum of the old Alliance in the château at (...)

20A second fascinating aspect of the decoration of the gallery survives in the form of a series of late nineteenth-century copies of murals. The originals appear to date to the second quarter of the sixteenth century and adorned the interior of the upper level of the gallery.63 The original images were in a state of severe degradation by the 1870s when they were described by Buhot de Kersers.64 They were subsequently copied onto canvas and four of them, representing members of the Stuart d’Aubigny family on horseback, are now displayed in the lower gallery (Fig. 6).65

Fig. 6. Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A ninteenth-century copy of a sixteenth-century mural at château de La Verrerie. The original paintings adorned the upper gallery. Four of the copies are displayed in the lower gallery

Fig. 6. Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A ninteenth-century copy of a sixteenth-century mural at château de La Verrerie. The original paintings adorned the upper gallery. Four of the copies are displayed in the lower gallery

© Bryony Coombs, 2007

  • 66 Harley Ms. 1423, no. 49, f. 103.

21Details of the original program of decoration, and the text which accompanied these images, in the form of cartouches, were fortunately recorded in Harley MS 1423 (Fig. 7).66

Fig. 7. “In the Gallerie of La Verrerie.Harley MS 1423, f.103r -103v

Fig. 7. “In the Gallerie of La Verrerie.” Harley MS 1423, f.103r -103v

© The British Library Board

  • 67 The reference team at the British Library confirmed that “the style appears to fit with late 16th-c (...)
  • 68 Key to dating the murals are the titles of the figures included. According to Harley MS 1423, all t (...)
  • 69 The inclusion of James IV is both important and problematic. Certainly, Bérault cultivated a close (...)
  • 70 The murals may already have been suffering from degradation at this point, or errors may have occur (...)
  • 71 According to the later copy, Robert’s portrait included his heraldry on his tabard and his horse’s (...)
  • 72 The equestrian portrait was an artistic form particularly associated with mercenary soldiers in Ita (...)
  • 73 Bérault chose to commemorate his successful appointment as governor of Milan with an equestrian por (...)
  • 74 Two inscriptions have been recorded that may relate to an artist who worked on the decoration of th (...)

22This document is of great importance (Appendix 1). Although dated by Cust to the mid-eighteenth century, a close study of the context of the document and the handwriting, reveals that it likely dates to c. 1620, making it the earliest surviving record of the original program for these murals.67 This accounts for the greater detail included in this record in comparison to later accounts. The series of portraits and equestrian portraits described is of great importance for several reasons. The accompanying text indicates that the program displayed a visual genealogy of the great warriors in the Stuart d’Aubigny ancestral line. Furthermore, it records that the group was led by king James IV of Scotland. The scheme included equestrian portraits of Bérault and Robert, who are identifiable in the nineteenth-century copies by their heraldry and insignia. The style of the equestrian portraits, the caparisons and barding, and the armour and tabards, as well as the overall form of the images and cartouches, are all consistent with an early sixteenth-century date. The biographical details provided by the text, as recorded in Harley MS 1423, indicates a date prior to Robert Stuart’s death in 1544.68 The scheme illustrates the great warriors and title holders in the Stuart d’Aubigny family. It begins, according to Harley 1423, with James IV followed by John Stuart, first seigneur d’Aubigny, and includes all subsequent lords of Aubigny up until Robert.69 It also includes notable figures from the Lennox line. The figures are not represented in chronological order and there is some confusion in the later textual descriptions, which may have arisen from miscopying by the transcriber.70 Identification was, however, all important to this program of decoration. The figures bore multiple identifying symbols: heraldry, devices, and livery colours.71 Whether physiognomic likeness was a concern is impossible to tell through the later copies, although given the extensive armour and helmets, this may not have been a priority.72 The inclusion, however, of text listing the figures, titles and achievements, illustrates that this was a scheme intended to be “read” and as such to communicate a message.73 The message concerned illustrious royal Scottish lineage, military prowess, loyalty, allegiance, and kinship. In terms of intentionality and agency this was a piece of visual propaganda, which would have communicated the importance of royal blood, and military expertise, in relation to royal Stuart lineage. The intended audience for such a message may have included French monarchs and nobles but, crucially, appears aimed to specifically appeal to a member of the royal House of Scotland. It stressed bonds of blood and loyalty and as such the ideal audience would have been the reigning Stuart monarch and members of his court.74

James V in France: A meeting with Robert Stuart and an Audience at La Verrerie?

23If the equestrian murals at La Verrerie date to the early 1530s, the events that unfolded during this decade were likely significant. I hypothesise in this section that the journey of James V to France in the mid-1530s may have provided a catalyst for Robert in refashioning La Verrerie, and may have provided an opportunity to consider how to advertise his dual loyalty and allegiance to both the kings of Scotland and France.

  • 75 Jamie Cameron, James V, The Personal Rule 1528-1542, East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 1998, p. 131-3.
  • 76 “In ane dissimilit vestement he com to the duik of Vendôme fathir of the lady that he suld haif mar (...)

24On 1 September 1536, James V set sail to France to marry Mary of Bourbon, daughter of the duke of Vendôme.75 The marriage contract had been drawn up at Crémieu on 6 March 1536, with the Scots king represented by John Stuart, duke of Albany, among others. It was approved on 29 March by the French King. The royal fleet consisting of six ships arrived at Dieppe on 9 or 10 September. Here James V disembarked. Adam Abell recorded that “In a different vestment he came to the duke of Vendôme father of the lady that he should have married. He was known there by his picture.”76 From there James travelled to Rouen, then to Paris in early October (Map 1).

Map. 1 The approximate route taken by James V in 1536 on his tour of central France, showing his proximity to Aubigny-sur-Nère

Map. 1 The approximate route taken by James V in 1536 on his tour of central France, showing his proximity to Aubigny-sur-Nère
  • 77 Mémoires de Martin et Guillaume du Bellay, eds. V. L. Bourrilly & F. Vindry, Paris, Renouard, 1908, (...)
  • 78 British Library, Additional MS 8715, f. 290v.

25When it was time to meet Francis I at Lyon, it appears that he was in no hurry to leave Paris and Francis had to send for him to meet him.77 But James V had apparently fallen ill and this delay prevented the meeting of the two kings from taking place at Lyon, as had originally been arranged.78 Francis having given orders to all his affairs in the town, could wait no longer and set out for Moulins.

  • 79 British Library, Additional MS 8715, f. 291; Edmond Bapst, Les Mariages de Jacques V, Paris, Librai (...)
  • 80 English reports can be found in Letters and Papers, op. cit., XI, no. 848 and 935.
  • 81 Letters of James V, op. cit., p. 324.
  • 82 For the itinerary, see Catalogue des Actes de Francois Ier, ed. P. Marichal, Paris, Imprimerie nati (...)

26The king of Scotland, meanwhile, left Paris and on 13 October he joined the French king on the road to Roanne, at a place called La Chapelle situated near Saint-Symphorien-de-Lay.79 The meeting was very cordial; Francis I, who wanted to honour his host, welcomed him warmly, but the latter, defending himself from receiving the ceremonial custom for sovereigns, begged the French king to treat him as his son. The two kings then embarked on a tour of central France, passing through La Palisse, and then Moulins on 23 October.80 They then visited Bourges, before travelling to Amboise on 29 October, Châtelherault on 31 October, Loches on 8 November, Bléré on 13 November, Blois on 16 November, Amboise again on 17 November,81 before returning north to Blois on 23 November. There, on 26 November 1536, they drew up the contract for the marriage of James to Francis I’s daughter, Madeleine, before returning to Paris via Orléans, Chamerolles, and Fountainebleau.82

  • 83 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 77, n. 163.
  • 84 The inventory of 1544 records a “chambre du roy” at each of the residences. Bonner, Documents, op. (...)
  • 85 See n. 37. At the end of July 1535 an embassy was dispatched to France on James V’s behalf. Instruc (...)

27There are two points at which James V may have visited Robert at La Verrerie: on his journey to La Chapelle before 13 October, or, and perhaps more likely, between leaving Moulins on 23 October and arriving at Amboise on 29 October where we know they travelled as far as Bourges. It would be surprising indeed if James V had not visited Robert on this occasion. That the Scottish king spent a week in the vicinity of Bourges has not previously been examined by historians, yet this provided an ideal opportunity for the Scottish king to renew his acquaintance with his kinsman, Robert, who, as Maréchal of France, held one of the most prestigious positions in the French courtly hierarchy.83 Both the château at Aubigny and La Verrerie are recorded as possessing a “chambre du roy” and thus appear to have been residences at which a king had spent time.84 When we add to this that Robert was clearly on very good terms with James V, with gifts having been sent to “lord Obinze” as recently as 1534, it appears most likely that the king would have taken this opportunity to renew his acquaintance with his valued friend, kinsman, and important Franco-Scottish diplomat.85

  • 86 Surrey, Polesden Lacey, NT 1246456, 15 x 12.5 cm. The verso now bears only a paper label, in ink: W (...)
  • 87 Paris, Louvre, RF 1938-8, 20.7 x 17 cm. There are two copies of this painting, one in Bristol, and (...)

28There is, furthermore, further visual evidence to suggest a link between Robert and Jacqueline, and James V during his French sojourn. At Polesden Lacey, Surrey, in the National Trust Collection is a small portrait traditionally identified as James V attributed to Corneille de Lyon. Here he wears a fashionable black doublet, decorated with gold aglets and a white ruff. He also wears the chivalric pendant of the Order of St Michel bestowed on him by Francis I early in 1536. Originally inscribed on the back of the panel, before cradling took place, was the text “Le Roi, agé 25.”86 If correctly identified as James V, this dates the painting to his time in France in 1536-7, and most likely to the time he spent near Lyon. There also survives from this period another small painting in the Louvre, attributed to Corneille de Lyon, which represents Jacqueline de La Queuille (Fig. 8).87

Fig. 8. Left: King James V of Scotland, Corneille de Lyon, Polesden Lacey, Surrey, NT 1246456. Right: Jacqueline de La Queuille, Corneille de Lyon, Paris, The Louvre, RF 1938-8

Fig. 8. Left: King James V of Scotland, Corneille de Lyon, Polesden Lacey, Surrey, NT 1246456. Right: Jacqueline de La Queuille, Corneille de Lyon, Paris, The Louvre, RF 1938-8

© National Trust Images/ Derrick E. Witty (left) / © RMN, Musée du Louvre (right)

  • 88 See n. 28. Corneille is recorded as court painter to Eleanor in 1534.
  • 89 A portrait of Robert Stuart attributed to Corneille de Lyon has not been identified although we kno (...)

29Corneille de Lyon was the court painter to Eleanor of Austria, wife of Francis I, and Jacqueline acted as a lady-in-waiting for Eleanor during the 1530s.88 This painting also has been traditionally dated to 1536, and to the period the French court visited Lyon. It is, therefore, quite possible that these two paintings were executed at the same time in relation to the tour of the Scottish king to towns in the vicinity of Lyon. It emphasises that James V and Jacqueline de La Queuille moved in the same courtly circles and engaged in the same practice of acquiring portraits from one of the most sought after artists in France of the time.89

The Chapel at La Verrerie

30A second grand scheme of painted decoration survives at La Verrerie. Again, the scheme visually displays the allegiance of the Stuart d’Aubigny family to both the royal House of Scotland and France. A careful analysis of what this program of decoration intended to communicate, and to whom, is of great importance.

  • 90 The structural work was largely completed by 1498. A document recording works executed between 1498 (...)
  • 91 Ibid., p. ix. The chapel interior contains a number of works commissioned by Robert during his firs (...)

31The construction of the chapel at La Verrerie dates to the late fifteenth century and may be attributed to Bérault.90 After Bérault’s death, Robert obtained from the Curia an act attaching indulgences for the faithful who attended Marian feast-days there. This act, dating to December 1509, now known through a later copy, tells us that the chapel was under the invocation of the Assumption and the Annunciation of the Virgin.91

  • 92 This decoration was revealed and restored c.1930. The ceiling had previously been obscured by a fal (...)

32For the purpose of this paper, our principal concern is the program of painted decoration adorning the walls and vaulted-ceiling of the chapel (Fig. 9).92

Fig. 9. The chapel at château de La Verrerie. Left: exterior. Right: Painted interior

Fig. 9. The chapel at château de La Verrerie. Left: exterior. Right: Painted interior

© Bryony Coombs, 2007

  • 93 The apostles’ creed begins with St Peter at the head of the chapel on the left and makes its way ba (...)
  • 94 Fleur-de-lis surround St Philip, while fermaillets surround the image of St James the Greater. This (...)
  • 95 On the west wall above the entrance to the chapel is an image of St Christopher carrying the Christ (...)
  • 96 These two figures appear heavily restored.
  • 97 The faint outline of a second coat of arms may be observed below that of the royal arms of France. (...)

33The murals on the walls are arranged in two registers, the upper level displays large representations of the apostles, each holding a scroll with a statement from the apostles’ creed.93 The apostles are arranged in a colonnade, set against a red background, which is intermittently strewn with fleur-de-lis, fermaillets, and thistles.94 At the head of the choir are the four evangelists.95 The lower register of the wall is ornamented with an Italianate pattern of bronze, yellow, and white cornucopia, masks, and vegetal motifs. The vaulted ceiling is painted azure with gold stars. At the head of the chapel, on opposing sides, are the sun and the moon. Around the circumference of the ceiling are a series of nineteen painted portrait-medallions, ten of which are supported by putti standing on floral arrangements and executed in grisaille. At the back of the chapel, on the ceiling, are two painted angels: one bearing the arms of Bérault and Anne de Maumont, the other the arms of Robert and a banner with the arms of Aubigny.96 The supporting beams and pillars of the ceiling are elaborately ornamented; the horizontal beams bear sunbursts, stars, fleur-de-lis, and fermaillets, while the two vertical pillars are decorated with important iconographic devices. The pillar nearest the entrance bears a thistle below the repeating initials “R” and “I,” referring to Robert and Jacqueline. Above this are fleur-de-lis. The pillar at the head of the chapel is decorated with the crowned arms of France over a salamander, and above is an elegant bunch of white lilies.97 These decorative insignia date the paintings to the time of Robert’s second marriage to Jacqueline, during the reign of Francis I. It is likely that they were executed at a similar time to the construction of the gallery c. 1525-31.

  • 98 The work of Mantegna was very popular at the French court in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth (...)

34The overall style, and general impression, of the murals is Italianate, although they were likely executed by French artists, and in particular they bring to mind the Renaissance ornamentation found in the work of Mantegna.98 The faux-stucco putti bearing portrait medallions executed in grisaille, for instance, bear similarity to these motifs in the Camera Picta, Mantua (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. Left: A putti bearing a portrait medallion at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: Andrea Mantegna, A putti bearing a medallion of the Roman emperor Otto, Camera Picta, Ducal Palace, Mantua

Fig. 10. Left: A putti bearing a portrait medallion at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: Andrea Mantegna, A putti bearing a medallion of the Roman emperor Otto, Camera Picta, Ducal Palace, Mantua

© Bryony Coombs, 2007 (left). Antonio Quattrone /Mondadori Portfolio © [age footstock] (right)

  • 99 “[...] son alogiati ale camere bianche de sopra e de sotto, tanto bene apparate che non se li poter (...)

35Similarly, the faux-architectural ornamentation of the pilasters, and lower registers of decoration on the walls, bears a resemblance to such motifs also executed by Mantegna. Although this is a superficial similarity, an important, and hitherto unexamined, piece of documentary evidence supports the idea that the Stuart d’Aubigny family were particularly interested in Mantegna’s work. In a letter from Antimaco, Francesco Gonzaga’s secretary, to Isabella d’Este of 22 April 1494 relating to a diplomatic visit by Bérault to Mantua on behalf of Louis XII, it is noted that Bérault specifically requested that the delegation be received in Mantegna’s “camera depincta” (Camera Picta).99 This discovery does not affect the dating of these paintings, but does indicate that Bérault’s interest in the work of Mantegna, and the murals in the Camera Picta in particular, may have been passed to his successor and nephew Robert, who subsequently appears to have incorporated elements of this Italianate aesthetic into his decorative campaign. I say the similarity is superficial because the rooms and their respective functions were quite different: the Camera Picta acted as an important diplomatic reception room and the paintings at La Verrerie adorn a private chapel. Nevertheless, further influence may have been drawn from this work in terms of the messages it was intended to communicate.

  • 100 In execution the portraits bear similarities to ceiling paintings, some of which appear to be portr (...)
  • 101 The portrait medallion of Robert corresponds fairly closely to a full-length portrait still display (...)

36The portrait roundels at La Verrerie are set against dark red backgrounds and executed in the manner of portrait medallions or coins. Surrounded by a border of yellow circles on an orange ground, the figures are shown without heraldry, attributes, or text.100 Several figures are represented with symbolic devices in the vicinity of the medallion which may relate to their identification. The seventh portrait medallion, for instance, is surrounded by fermaillets, and faces another which is surrounded by fleur-de-lis. These two portraits evidently represent the patron, Robert, and the reigning king of France, Francis I.101 The pairing of these two portraits makes a strong visual statement about Robert’s wish to celebrate his proximity to the king as a maréchal of France. On the opposite wall another medallion stands out for its proximity to thistle motifs included around the supporting putti and on the wall beneath. The figure bears a strong iconographic resemblance to the Stuart kings of Scotland, and to a surviving image of James IV in particular (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11: Left: A portrait medallion with thistles depicting a Scottish monarch, likely James V, at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: James IV, Anonymous artist, Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, PG 685

Fig. 11: Left: A portrait medallion with thistles depicting a Scottish monarch, likely James V, at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: James IV, Anonymous artist, Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, PG 685

© Bryony Coombs 2007 (left). © RCAHMS (right)

  • 102 James IV was killed at Flodden in 1513. James V, was born in 1512. The medallion is relatively clos (...)

37Early coins, however, from the reign of James V employ a similar iconography, and given the date of the paintings, it appears likely to represent James V.102

  • 103 The inventory records a “chambre du fauconnier,” and a “faulconnerie a esté trouvé troys faulcons.” (...)
  • 104 The use of the portrait medallion evoked ideas of classical triumph. An illuminated manuscript, of (...)

38Other figures include a falconer gesturing towards a bird, which is perched upon a ledge. An account in the 1544 inventory of La Verrerie details the accommodation for a falconer, as well as three falcons, and various falconry paraphernalia, all testifying to Robert’s passion for this pastime.103 The medallion is likely, therefore, to represent a favourite falconer from the Stuart d’Aubigny household. A further medallion depicting a warrior dressed in armour is likely to represent an important mercenary in the Stuart d’Aubigny ancestral line, perhaps Bérault or John Stuart, first seigneur d’Aubigny. Other medallions are harder to identify. They feature generalised images of classical figures, perhaps Roman emperors, or personifications of planetary deities.104 While the overall program for these figures is now obscure, the inclusion of these classicising types reveals again Robert’s interest in Renaissance iconography. It also suggests a more complex message than merely an illustration of the Stuart d’Aubigny ancestral line, but rather a display of family allegiance, blood ties, and moral values.

  • 105 François Blanquart, “La chapelle de Gaillon et les fresques d’Andrea Solario,” Extrait du Bulletin (...)

39The scheme would have functioned as a visual reminder to keep the Stuart d’Aubigny family, their household, and their allies, in their prayers. In this respect a parallel may be drawn with the frescoes that originally adorned the interior of the chapel at Gaillon. The paintings now known only through an eighteenth-century description were thought to be the work of Andrea Solario who travelled to Normandy at the request of Cardinal Georges d’Amboise.105 The description notes that frescoes adorned each side of the chapel, and that on entering one saw to the right a representation of the Cardinal d’Amboise, his nephew, and other prelates in his family. This work and the paintings at La Verrerie both performed the same function: they sought to glorify the patron, and their family, in the context of a chapel, thus prompting subsequent family members to keep them in their prayers.

40Returning to Mantegna’s Camera Picta, the inclusion at La Verrerie of household favourites, allies, and classical figures in the decorative program suggests a similar diplomatic function may have also been implicit in the decoration. Its inclusion in a chapel setting did not preclude it from performing a political objective and if we consider how such a scheme may have been viewed by a dual visit from James V and Francis I, the inclusion of figures from their royal households would have taken on strong diplomatic overtones regarding the Stuart d’Aubigny families’ bonds of kinship and loyalty. Bérault Stuart’s impresa styled him as the buckle uniting Scotland and France, his motto “Distantia Jungit” declared that the two countries were “joined although distant.” The La Verrerie chapel paintings further emphasise this point by including portraits of members of both royal Houses. A joint visit by both kings would have been an active performance of the diplomatic accord visually communicated in the medallions: a visualization of the Auld Alliance, and the Stuart d’Aubigny family’s crucial role as a linchpin in Franco-Scottish diplomacy.

“Ryall Blude”: Royal Stuart Lineage and Magnificence at La Verrerie

  • 106 In 1544 Matthew Stuart 4th Earl of Lennox defected to Henry VIII. Jean Stuart, 6th seigneur d’Aubig (...)

41An inventory of the Stuart d’Aubigny family’s possessions taken in 1544 allows us to build up a picture of seigneurial life at the châteaux of Aubigny and La Verrerie at the time of Robert’s death. Of particular interest are the various records of tapestries and portraits.106 One entry, for instance, notes:

Ung ciel a tendre au dessus de la table de velours vert a figures de drap d’or et d’argent; ouquel y a pourtraict ung personnaige enrychy d’un gros rubis de troys diamans a l’entour, ung autre dyamant pendu au col avec une grosse perle, et au dessoubz une esmeraulde, les armoisres de feu monseigneur le mareschal environnees du coullier de l’ordre a coquilles d’or, troys pentes servant audict ciel de mesme pareure a franges d’or doublees de demars vert.

  • 107 “A canopy stretched above the table of green velvet, with figures of gold and silver cloth; where t (...)

Six pieces de tapisserye de damars vert faictes a grans personnaiges de drap d’or, d’argent, toille d’or, d’argent et d’autres enrichisseures de brodderyes a chacune desquelles, sauf en deux d’icelles, y a deux personnaiges et, esdites deux grans pieces y a quatre personnaiges par ce que chacune d’icelles sert de deux pieces, plus une piece de damars vert sans broderye servant pour alonguement de la dicte tapisserie.107

  • 108 This set of figures of gold and silver cloth brings to mind Robert’s appointment as a judge at the (...)
  • 109 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 98, p. 101, p. 102-103, p. 107.
  • 110 Ibid., p. 118-123, p. 126-127.
  • 111 Ibid., p. 105.

42This extraordinary account describes an embroidered portrait of Robert enriched with precious stones: a ruby, diamonds, an emerald, and pearl. It bears Robert’s heraldry and the collar of the Order of St Michael. The account is followed by an entry for six pieces of tapestry depicting great figures of gold and silver cloth.108 Clearly, these were magnificent items. The inventory demonstrates that Robert was a patron aware of the important role visual splendour could play in relation to displays of status and power. The extensive lists of tapestries at Aubigny include seven pieces of tapestry “en façon de parc,” nine of “des neuf preux,” nine of “Nabuchodonosor,” another of “de verdure,” and a piece “de Herculle,” nine pieces of “de la chasse,” seven pieces with “oiseaulx et bestes sauvaiges,” and seven pieces “faict a Sibiles.”109 Tapestries at La Verrerie included four pieces featuring figures and the arms of Robert and his wife, seven large pieces of “le preux,” nine featuring fountains with the arms of Robert and his wife, nine large pieces featuring the labours of Hercules, several of flowers and beasts, six great pieces of Flemish tapestry featuring fountains and pairs of beasts, six Flemish tapestries “figuree de personnaiges,” seven great pieces featuring “l’istoire de Perseus,” six great Flemish pieces featuring the Sybils.110 Another entry describes a canopy for a bed, made of squares of silver cloth and green velvet, with unicorns of silver, and other devices finely embroidered. The canopy bore the arms of Robert, around which was a collar of the order of St Michael suspended by two great unicorns.111 The inventory allows us to envisage the sumptuously decorated interiors of the two châteaux and understand the stress that was put on visual signifiers relating to identity, such as heraldry, portraits, and devices.

  • 112 The small painting of the king of Scotland held at La Verrerie provides evidence that the king gave (...)
  • 113 For the concept of magnificence in late medieval aesthetics, see C. S. Jaeger (ed.), Magnificence a (...)
  • 114 The idea of the valorisation of the family through the use of interior decoration, drawing on theme (...)
  • 115 “Donation par Charles VII a Jean Stuart Seigneur de Derneley, Connétable de l’armée d’Écosse des te (...)

43The portraits recorded in the inventory include, among others: a small round leather box with a portrait of the king of France on gilded tin; two other boxes with portraits of the king on white satin; a black wooden box with a portrait of the king of Scotland, gilded and “estouffé” with colours; a great painting of Cleopatra; two great tableaux, one of said seigneur d’Aubigny, and another of the first wife of said seigneur; a tableau of the father of the count of Lennox; a small tableau of a lady in mourning; and four great gilded tableaux of the four dukes of Burgundy.112 In this respect, Robert followed the fashion for gathering galleries of portraits of notable historical and political figures and family members. If we look at the inventory in relation to what we have already explored in terms of the architectural and decorative campaigns undertaken by Robert from 1516 to 1531, we can begin to build a picture of his interests and preoccupations during this period. It appears he was engaged in a campaign of aristocratic self-representation. Visual magnificence was seen as a virtue.113 By commissioning grand buildings, lavish paintings, and luxurious tapestries, the patron advertised their wealth, status, and learning. They could also inspire certain reactions in those invited to view their patronage: wonder, for instance, could be evoked through the use of fine workmanship, precious materials and sophisticated visual references. Beyond this, a more specific reaction might be sought. The choice of subjects depicted in the Stuart d’Aubigny tapestries emphasise chivalric culture and martial prowess.114 It is clear through the portraits, and painted decoration, that great stress was laid on the virtues of the royal Stuart lineage to which the Stuart d’Aubigny line could claim descent. It was through Robert’s recent ancestor, John Stuart of Darnley, that he could claim hereditary right to his land and property in France, and also the right to include the fleur-de-lis in his arms.115 It was through his more distant descent from the royal Stuart House of Scotland that he could claim kinship to James V. The frequent occurrence of unicorns, a symbol of the royal House of Scotland, draws on this descent. Of great importance in Robert’s visual campaign at La Verrerie was the illustration of principles of continuity, succession, authority and legitimacy. It stressed the martial prowess of the Stuart d’Aubigny line and crucially it stressed their descent from the royal House of Scotland.

  • 116 William Dunbar, The Poems of Dunbar, ed. Priscilla Bawcutt, 2 vols, Glasgow, The Association for Sc (...)
  • 117 For Bérault’s impresa, see Paolo Giovio, Dialogo dell’imprese, militari et amorose di monsignor Gio (...)

44When the court poet William Dunbar welcomed Bérault Stuart to Scotland in 1508, he stressed his ancestry as a “branche of our linnage,” while emphasising his “ryall blude.”116 His impresa, likewise, describes him as “scion of the royal blood of Scotland,” while in a manuscript detailing his inclusion to the Order of St Michael, he is described as “of the line of the king of Scotland.”117 Robert, as heir, would also have seen the importance in stressing this bond of blood.

Influence and Reception

  • 118 Accounts of the Master of Works, ed. H. M. Paton, Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1957, (...)

45On 1 December 1536, while in Orléans, James V granted letters under the privy seal to appoint Moyse Martyne, a Frenchman, and “sumtyme maister masoun of the castell of Dunbar,” to be his master mason with a yearly salary of £60 in addition to his ordinary wages as a mason employed on the king’s work.118 This came just 33 days after James V visited Bourges and likely took the opportunity to visit Robert. The timing of this appointment suggests that plans were underway for the return of the Scottish king, whose wedding would be in only a few week’s time. Thus, it appears thoughts had already turned to the preparation of the royal households back in Scotland. On his return, a great deal of intensive and innovative work was undertaken, updating and remodelling the royal residences.

  • 119 Thomas, Princely Majesty, op. cit., p. 56-7. Thomas notes (p. 71) that nearly £13,000 was spent on (...)
  • 120 The east façade is inscribed with the date 1537 and was probably executed by Moyse Martin.
  • 121 The courtyard façades at Falkland provide “a display of early Renaissance architecture without para (...)
  • 122 Dunbar draws particular attention to the similar use of pilaster-buttresses dividing the façade int (...)

46James V’s enthusiasm for building schemes has been much discussed. His program of architectural improvements has been designated as unparalleled in intensity by that of any other Scottish monarch.119 It has long been acknowledged that this campaign of building work owes a great deal to the king’s tour of central France. Of particular note is the work undertaken between 1537 and 1541 on the south and east ranges of Falkland Palace.120 Here the façades demonstrate a strong French influence, furthermore, Moyse was one of the master-masons employed on this work until his death in 1538.121 The work here includes a number of innovative features, certainly new to architecture in Scotland, and likely influenced by what James V (or Moyse) saw in France. A number of sources of inspiration have already been proposed. Dana Bentley-Cranch noted the residences of Florimond Robertet, the Hôtel d’Alluye, Blois and his château at Bury, as possible sources of architectural inspiration. John G. Dunbar later suggested that Fountainebleau and Villers-Cotterêts may also have provided sources for the types of developments found at Falkland, and yet these suggestions do not answer all the questions raised.122

47James V’s tour of France took him to some of the finest châteaux constructed and remodelled during the reign of Francis I: Amboise, Blois, Chenonceau, Chambord, Chamerolles, Fontainebleau, Gaillon, Château de Loches, Bury. It was undoubtedly through admiring these grand châteaux that he conceived his ideas regarding the Renaissance remodelling of Falkland. That James V may have been influenced by the impressive architectural patronage of Franco-Scots has not previously received academic consideration, and yet it is likely that James V took this opportunity to renew his acquaintance with Robert Stuart at La Verrerie, and in such an event cannot have failed to have been impressed by what he saw there. Although many of the formal developments at Falkland may have taken inspiration from the grand buildings mentioned above, the Scottish dimension of the decorative program at La Verrerie would have resonated with a royal Scottish audience: viewing scenes that drew on the iconography of the royal house of Scotland, emphasising Stuart heritage, and associated chivalric values would likely have made an impression.

48Evidence of how such an impression may have manifested itself back in Scotland may tentatively be seen in the inclusion of Italianate medallions adorning the façades at Falkland, where the busts on the south range demonstrate strong similarities to those found at La Verrerie. Those on the south are more sophisticated than the earlier roundels on the east range. While those on the east range are similar to the painted roundels at La Verrerie, those on the south are closer to the sculpted medallions (Fig. 12).

Fig. 12. Left: Sculpted medallion of a young woman from the gallery at La Verrerie. Right: Sculpted medallion of a young woman, Falkland Palace, south range

Fig. 12. Left: Sculpted medallion of a young woman from the gallery at La Verrerie. Right: Sculpted medallion of a young woman, Falkland Palace, south range

© Bryony Coombs, 2009 (left). © RCAHMS (right)

49Similarly, an unexplored area for consideration is a connection between the carved Stirling Heads created for display in the king’s apartments at Stirling Palace. The two decorative schemes, the painted ceiling medallions at La Verrerie, and the sculpted medallions at Stirling Palace, certainly exhibit a similar program. The combination of prominent Stuart family members, royal allies, household members, and classical figures is analogous, and similarities may be drawn, furthermore, in the schematic manner of their representation (Fig. 13).

Fig. 13. Left: A portrait medallion of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: Stirling head, No. 22. A Nobleman

Fig. 13. Left: A portrait medallion of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: Stirling head, No. 22. A Nobleman

© Bryony Coombs, 2007 (left). © Crown Copyright reproduced courtesy of Historic Scotland (right)

50In the same manner as Robert may have integrated aspects of Mantegna’s frescoes into his chapel decorations, we may perhaps see here how aspects of a decorative scheme, such as that at La Verrerie, were later instrumental in the king’s own decorative scheme at Stirling Palace.

Conclusion: “Distantia Jungit,” The Stuart d’Aubigny Family as an embodiment of the Auld Alliance

51This paper has investigated the architectural and decorative patronage of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A large scheme of building work was undertaken in the town of Aubigny-sur-Nère, using resources made available by Robert, and evidence of this still exists on the buildings today. The château at Aubigny was also rebuilt at this time. Furthermore, extensive remodelling and decorative work was undertaken at the Stuart d’Aubigny’s rural residence, La Verrerie, from 1516 to 1544. This work included the construction of an Italianate gallery and a fascinating series of murals depicting equestrian portraits of the Stuart d’Aubigny family. It also involved a grand scheme of decorative painting in the chapel, which included portrait medallions of the Stuart family and both the kings of Scotland and France.

52The decorative work undertaken at La Verrerie survives as a testament to the influence on Bérault and Robert of their diplomatic and military activities in Italy. Both appear to have been greatly impressed by aspects of Italian art and utilised forms of this back in France. This was not a wholesale imitation of Italian Renaissance aesthetics, but a sophisticated reworking of certain elements in a French style. One possible catalyst for the decorative work commissioned for La Verrerie was the tour of France by James V. Robert cultivated good relations with the Scottish monarch. As an important military figure in France, a valued Franco-Scottish diplomat, and a kinsman of the king, he would no doubt have hoped that James V would pay him a visit. The decorative work was, thus, an exercise in courtly calculus, advertising allegiance and dependency whilst simultaneously promoting the family’s status and success.

53The ideal audience for such a scheme of decoration would have been the king of Scotland and the king of France, and the protracted tour of central France undertaken by James V in the company of Francis I provided the perfect opportunity for Robert to advertise his family’s unique position and strategic importance in this way. Evidence in the 1544 inventory recording a “chambre du roy” at each of the Stuart d’Aubigny residences, suggests that the family were granted the honour of a royal visit at some point. Frescoes and painted decoration were frequently commissioned with an idea that they would be displayed to visiting dignitaries and played, therefore, a central rather than a peripheral role in diplomacy and its rituals.

  • 123 For Bérault’s use of the motto “Distantia Jungit” and the idea that he promoted himself as a buckle (...)

54It has not previously been examined that James V visited Bourges on his tour of France and was twice in close proximity to Aubigny-sur-Nère, making an audience at La Verrerie likely. The program of decoration itself is extraordinary. Little attention has hitherto been paid to the equestrian murals there. However, by examining the description of these works provided in Harley MS 1423, and accurately re-dating this transcription to c. 1620, we can show this document to be the most complete record that we have of this fascinating program of paintings. While the decorative work at the Stuart d’Aubigny residences bears close comparison to the tastes and preferences of their French peers, the message communicated by the Stuart’s decorative campaigns are quite distinct. There is a coherent visual emphasis on, not only the family’s loyalty to France, but also their Scottish roots: the repeated use of unicorns and thistles, the depiction of James IV in the equestrian murals, the inclusion of portraits of Scottish royalty in their collection of paintings, and also in the chapel portrait medallions, all bear this out. The Stuarts’ Scottish heritage was a source of great pride, and fundamental to their careers. Just as Bérault’s impresa represented him as the buckle uniting Scotland and France, so too, Robert appears to have considered this dual loyalty as intrinsic to his social identity. The paintings appear to have been an important statement of the Stuart d’Aubigny family’s status and military pride. They also made a strong political statement of loyalty to the Scottish crown. This statement is further emphasised in the chapel decoration where Scottish iconography is prevalent, but which also emphasises the family’s loyalty to the king of France by the inclusion of his portrait. The scheme as a whole forms a strong visual statement of the seigneur d’Aubigny’s role as a buckle uniting the kingdoms of Scotland and France.123

55The Stuart d’Aubigny family represent important conduits for the transmission of ideas between countries. They may be shown to have been key figures in the adoption of Renaissance Italian aesthetics. Their extensive diplomatic and military excursions south of the Alps afforded them the opportunity to become acquainted with some of the most prized works of art in Italy at that time, and this appears to have influenced their own tastes and aspirations. Their trips to Scotland, furthermore, may have shaped their taste for the prolific inclusion of visual devices relating to their Scottish heritage. That the Scottish king may have been welcomed to La Verrerie in 1536 provides both a motive for the extensive campaign of work undertaken there in the early 1530s, but also provides a convincing opportunity for James V to have been exposed to ideas that he later adopted in his own building campaigns.

Appendix 1: British Library, Harleian MS 1423, f.103r-103v

In the Gallerie of La Verrerie

* Jaquob le 4me de ce nom par et la grace de Dieu,

Roy de Scotie et Seigr dies Isles.

*James IV, King of Scotland (d. 1513).

* Messire Jean Stuart Seigr darnley d:Aubigny et de

Concorsault, conseiler et Chambellan ordinaire

du Roy et grand Connestable de l’armee d’Escosse

: fust tue en la Journee des Harrans pres Orleans

par nos anciens ennemis les Anglois.

*John Stuart of Darnley, 1st seigneur d’Aubigny (d. 1429)

* Messire Berault Stuart, Seigr d’Aubigny et du

Crotet, Comte de Terre Nove, Marquis de Girace,

Baron de St. George, Conseiller et Chambellan

ordinaire du Roy, nostre Sire, Chevalier de son ordre

Capitaine de la garde de son Corps. Gran

Connestable de Sicile et de Jerusalem et son

Lieutenant General en Royaulme de

Naples.

*Bérault Stuart, 4th seigneur d’Aubigny (d. 15 June 1508).

* Messire Guillaume Stuart, Seigr d’Oyson

de Berri, Conseiller et Chambellan ordinaire

du Roy, Capitaine de Cent Hommes d’Armes

Escossois des anciens ordonnances.

*William Stuart, seigneur d’Oizon (d. 1503).

* Messire Robert Stuart, Seigr d’Aubigny

Consciller et Chambellan ordinaire du

Roy et Chevalier de son ordre

Mareschall de France, Capitayne de la

garde du corps du dit Seigneur et de cent

lances Escossoises des anciens ordonnances.

*Robert Stuart, 5th seigneur d’Aubigny (d. 1544).

* Messire Mathieu Stuart Comte de Lenox

et Seigr Darnley.

*Matthew Stuart, 2nd Earl of Lennox (d. 9 September 1513).

* Messire Alain Stuart fils aisné de Monsieur le Connestable de l'armée Escosse, Comte de Lenox et Seigr Darnley.

*Alan Stuart of Darnley, 2nd seigneur d’Aubigny (d. 1439).

* Messire Jean Stuart second fils de Mon Seigr le

Connestable de Escosse Seigr d’Aubigny et de

Concorsault, Conseiller et Chambellan ordinaire

du Roy et Capitayne de Cent Hommes

d’Armes Escossoises des anciens ordonnances.

*John Stuart, 3rd seigneur d’Aubigny (d. 1482).

* Messire Jan Stuart fils aisné de Messire

Jean Stuart Comte de Lenox et Darnley.

*Either John Stuart, seigneur d’Oizon (d. 1512) or John Stuart of Darnley, 1st earl of Lennox (d. 1495). There is some confusion here concerning the designation “fils aisné.”

* Messire Mathieu Stuart fils aisné de Messire

Jean Stuart Comte de Lenox et Seigr d’Aubigny.

*Possibly Matthew Stuart, 4th earl of Lennox (d. 1571). However, his father was not a seigneur d’Aubigny. Perhaps, therefore, there was another Matthew Stuart.

* Messire Stuart fils aisné de Messire Mathieu

Stuart Comte de Lenox et de Darnley.

*John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Lennox (d. 1526)

* Messire Alexandre Stuart frère de Monsr le Connestable de l’armée d’Escosse fust tué à la Journée des Harrans avec le dit Connestable.

*Alexander Stuart, brother of John Stuart of Darnley, 1st seigneur d’Aubigny (also d. 1429?).

* Messire Guillaume Stuart Seigneur de . . . .

et de Castel nrolk (Castlemilk?) frère germain de Monsr le

Connestable d’Escosse lequel fut tué à la

journée de Verneuil.

*William Stuart of Castlemilk, brother of John Stuart of Darnley, 1st seigneur d’Aubigny (d. 1429).

* Messire Phillippe Stuart fils aisné du feu

Messire Jean Stuart Seigneur d’Aubigny.

*Philip Stuart (d. 1470), brother of Bérault Stuart, 4th seigneur d’Aubigny.

Haut de page

Notes

1 Robert was the fourth of five sons of John Stewart of Darnley, 1st count of Lennox (d. 1495) and Margaret, daughter of Alexander, Lord Montgomery. William Fraser, The Lennox, Edinburgh, T. & A. Constable, 1874, II, p. 132.

2 For Robert Stuart, see: Lady Elizabeth Cust, Some Accounts of the Stuarts of Aubigny in France, 1422-1672, London, Chiswick Press, 1891; Elisabeth Bonner, “Robert Stuart, c.1470-1544,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Retrieved 21 July 2020 from https://www-oxforddnb-com.janus.bis-sorbonne.fr/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-26503; Elisabeth Bonner, Documents sur Robert Stuart Seigneur d’Aubigny (1508-1544), Paris, Éditions du Comité des Travaux historiques et scientifiques, 2011; Bryony Coombs, “Distantia Jungit”: Scots patronage of the visual arts in France, c.1445 – c.1545, PhD Thesis, Edinburgh University, 2013.

3 William Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms and Lifeguards in France: From their formation until their final dissolution, Edinburgh, W. Paterson, 1882, I, p. 167-71.

4 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., 2011, p. 48. De Vogüé suggests that the marriage took place in 1504 when Anne would have been about sixteen years old. Marquis de Vogüé, “La Verrerie d’Aubigny en Berry. Histoire d’une terre berrichonne pendant cinq siècles”, Cahiers d’archéologie et d’histoire du Berry, 27, 1971, p. 1-60, here p. 13.

5 Jean d’Auton, Chroniques de Louis XII, ed. Maulde-La-Clavière, Paris, H. Laurens, 1889-1895, I, p. 41-209; II, p. 126-256; III, p. 311; IV, p. 99.

6 D’Auton notes that Robert knew he could not take the city by force alone, but used his skills as a diplomat to convince the citizens that he would treat them well and defend their interests, and thus his courteous words persuaded the people of Nola to open their gates and let the French enter. D’Auton, Chroniques, op. cit., II, p. 263.

7 W. Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms, op. cit., I, p. 176; British Library, Additional Charters, 14036.

8 Bérault died in Corstorphine. Fraser, The Lennox, op. cit., II, p. 346.

9 Andrew Stuart, Genealogical History of the Stewarts, from the Earliest Period of their Authentic History to Present Times, London, A. Strahan, T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1798, p. 212.

10 This document is in the private archive at La Verrerie and transcribed in E. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 142.

11 W. Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms, op. cit., I, p. 84.

12 He was appointed captain following the death of his brother, Jean Stuart d’Oizon in 1512. W. Forbes-Leith, The Scots Men-At-Arms, op. cit., II, p. 97.

13 He was the commander whom Gaston de Foix, duc de Nemours, had left in charge. Jacques de Mailles, Histoire du Chevalier Bayard, lieutenant général pour le roy au gouvernement de Daulphiné, ed. Théodore Godefroy, Paris, A. Pacard, 1616, p. 283.

14 Robert de la Mark Fleuranges, Les Mémoires du Maréchal de Fleuranges, ed. Lambert, Paris, Rue d’Anjou-Dauphine, 1786, p. XVI.

15 E. Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 54.

16 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, London, His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1920, I, 1509-1514, no. 1647.

17 The date Robert was awarded this honour is unknown, but it was likely to have been during the reign of Louis XII, perhaps after the death of Pierre de Gié, 1513. Jean Le Féron, Catalogue des Illustres Mareschaulx de France, Paris, Michel de Vascosan, 1555, f. 22v; E. Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 54; E. Bonner, “Robert Stuart”, op. cit.; E. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., 2011, p. 51.

18 Gabriel Daniel, Histoire de la milice françoise et des changements qui s’y sont faits depuis l’établissement de la monarchie dans les Gaules jusqu’à la fin du règne de Louis le Grand, Paris, Jean-Baptiste Coignard, 1721, II, p. 120; Memoirs Concerning the Ancient Alliance between the French and Scots, and the Privileges of the Scots in France, Moncrieff, ed., Edinburgh, W. Cheyne, 1751, p. 25-31. E. Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 55; Elizabeth Bonner, “French Naturalisation of the Scots in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” The Historical Journal, 40, 1997, p. 1085-1115.

19 This warranted him a mention in Sir Robert Lindsay’s poem, The Historie of Squyer Meldrum.

20 Letters and Papers, op. cit., I, no. 3348. For Gringore’s text and illuminations that recorded Mary’s entry ceremony, see Gringore, Les Entrées Royales à Paris de Marie d’Angleterre (1514) et Claude de France (1517), ed. Cynthia J. Brown, Geneva, Droz, 2005. For the duties of the Garde Écossaise, see Claude de Sessel, Histoire singuliere du Roy Loys XII, Paris, Gilles Corrozet, 1558, p. 66.

21 Les œuvres de Jean Marot, Paris, A. U. Coustelier, 1723, p. 208.

22 Papers Relative to the Royal Guard of Scottish Archers in France: From Original Documents, ed. A. MacDonald, Edinburgh, T. Constable, 1835, p. 72.

23 Francisque Michel, Les Écossais en France, Les Français en Écosse, 2 vols, London, Trübner & Co, 1862, I, p. 348.

24 Letters and Papers, op. cit., III, no. 870; Bernard de Montfauçon, Les monumens de la monarchie françoise, 5 vols, Paris, Gandouin, 1732, IV, p. 191. Letters of James V, 1513-1542, ed. Robert Kerr Hannay, Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1954, p. 77-79; La description et ordre du camp, festins et ioustes, Paris, Lescaillé 1520, BN.

25 Letters and Papers, op. cit., III, no. 1071.

26 Two documents from the La Verrerie archives relate to these two episodes. The first, “Lettres patentes du roi François Ier nommant Robert Stuart lieutenant-général à l’armée d’Italie, pendant l’absence de Guillaume Gouffier, seigneur de Bonnivet, amiral de France, Lyon, 25 mai 1522,” the second, “commission de François Ier envoyant Robert Stuart en Bourgogne contre des bandes, Lyon, 26, Octobre 1523.” In the first document, Francis I notes Robert’s sense, bravery, loyalty, leadership and diligence. E. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., 2011, p. 146 and p. 148.

27 Robert appears in a contemporary panel painting at the Ashmolean Museum, labelled as “MONSSER DAVEBIGNY ESCOSSOYS.” The painting, probably Burgundian in origin, was executed with anti-French sentiments, showing the French side in an unfavourable light. Robert is shown turning his back on the fighting, as his horse heads off out of the picture. Timothy Wilson, The Battle of Pavia, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2003, p. 11.

28 On this occasion his wife, Jacqueline de la Queuille, is mentioned as a lady-in-waiting, “all richly dressed and mounted on hackneys, caparisoned with cloth of gold.” Théodore Godefroy. Le cérémonial François, Paris, S. & G. Cramoisy, 1649, I, p. 476-501.

29 De Montfauçon, Les monumens, op. cit., IV, p. 239.

30 For the chapter of the Order of St Michel, see Revue Historique de la Noblesse, I, 89. For the arrival of the herald proposing single combat: “... behind the throne were many knights of the order [of St. Michael], including Mons. d’Aubigni, captain of 100 spears and of the Scottish Guard,” Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, ed. Rawdon Brown, 38 vols, London, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1871, IV, no. 345.

31 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 59.

32 De Vogüé, art. cit., p.17. Bonner dates Robert’s death to March /April 1544. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 21, n. 2.

33 The private archives at La Verrerie hold a copy of her will dated to 24 December 1516. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 48, n. 42.

34 She bequeathed 50 livres tournois for a mass to be said everyday, for her, her father, and her predecessors. She also instructed that her robes of gold, silver, and silk, be distributed to the church of Saint Martin d’Aubigny, the Hotel-Dieu d’Aubigny, the chapel at La Verrerie and the church of the Conception at Orléans. She also left to the latter a crimson velvet robe to henceforth be used to make ornaments for the service of God. She left other clothing to her good and loyal servants, along with 1000 livres tournois. De Vogüé, art. cit., p. 17. Reference to the church at Orléans is interesting as the Scots in general, and the Stuarts of Darnley in particular, had a long-standing connection to the town. John Stuart of Darnley’s brother, William, and his cousin, the Earl of Buchan, received gifts from Orléans in 1421. John was very popular with the city after promising to provide it with aid in the event of a dispute with the king. On 12 February 1429, John was killed in a skirmish at Rouvray (Battle of the Herrings). He and his wife were buried in the cathedral and they left sufficient money so that a special service of remembrance could be said for them. This lasted until the revolution. In the famed Orléans mystery play, John was given a eulogy spoken by Dunois, one of the heroes of the play. Two contemporary Douglases were also buried there and left a considerable sum of money and gifts to the cathedral. There is now a modern plaque at the cathedral commemorating John and his wife’s burial. Mistere du siege d’Orleans, ed. V. L. Hamblin, Geneva, Droz, 2002, p. 341-344.

35 The date of Robert’s second marriage is not known, however Bonner’s suggestion that it was soon after he was released from imprisonment in 1525 is likely. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 56.

36 Sir James Hamilton of Finnart (d. 1540) was a Scottish nobleman, the illegitimate son of James Hamilton, 1st earl of Arran. Although legitimated in 1512, he continued to be known as the “Bastard of Arran.” A key member of the Hamilton family, and second cousin of James V, he became a prominent member of Scottish society. He was appointed steward of the royal household and master of works to the king. As master of works, he was responsible for restorations to the royal palaces of Linlithgow and Falkland. The king granted him land in Lanarkshire, on which he built Craignethan Castle in 1530. Hamilton murdered John Stewart, 3rd earl of Lennox, who had surrendered to the Hamilton side following the Battle of Linlithgow Bridge in 1526. Soon after this, Francis I, at the request of Robert, wrote to James V to ensure the four children’s safety. Robert was accompanied by his great-nephews, Matthew and John, in the 1536 campaign in Provence.

37 Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, 13 vols, Edinburgh, H. M. Gen. Register House, 1877- 1905, VI, p. 44. There are also notes of expenses for the transportation of these horses by ship to France. A further gift of dogs to “Lord Obinze” and also gifts of horse to “Lord Obinze” occur in 1534, see ibid., VI, p. 45 and p.  232.

38 A sixteenth-century map held at the departmental archives of Cher shows the town as a strongly fortified settlement at this time. An imposing town wall, studded with battlements encircles the town. Inside are representations of the principal edifices of the borough. The château and the church of St Martin are clearly identifiable. A. Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique monumentale du département du Cher, Aubigny-sur-Nère et ses environs, Paris, Res Universis, 2002, p. 134; R. Gessat, Ville d’Aubigny County Show. A Great Franco-Scottish Festival, Aubigny, 1931, p. 7; Bernard Toulier, Aubigny-Sur-Nere, la cité des Stuarts, Cher, Orléans, L’Association régionale pour l’étude du patrimoine du Centre, 1994, p. 10. An early description of Aubigny-sur-Nère is given by Chaumeau, where he mentions that Charles VIII gave the town to “Berault Estuard.” J. Chaumeau, Histoire de Berry, Lyon, Gryphius, 1566, p. 274-275.

39 Gaspard Thaumas de la Thaumassière, Histoire de Berry, Bourges, A Jollet, 1863, III, p. IX. Fire was a potent hazard at this time and residents of this area would still have had fresh in their minds the great fire at Bourges in 1487.

40 Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 150; Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 62.

41 De la Thaumassière, Histoire de Berry, op. cit., III, p. IX; B. Toulier, Aubigny-Sur-Nere, op. cit., p. 8.

42 The Stuart d’Aubigny arms displayed the arms of Stuart, quartered with the royal arms of France. Typically, the fleur-de-lis quarters were bordered by fermaillet, however, on occasions, such as on Bérault’s seal, the Stuart quarter bore a border of fermaillet instead. Robert’s arms additionally included the arms of Lennox in the centre of the shield.

43 Although this section of the carving is now cut off by the jutting out of the wall’s surface, the letters are identifiable as “R” and “A,” rather than “R” and “I.”

44 Other buildings are later in date. The so-called house of François I situated on the corner of rue du Bourg-Coutant is ornamented with a damaged, but beautifully carved, relief of the charity of St Martin at the base of which is a carved banner with 1519.

45 Toulier, Aubigny-Sur-Nere, op. cit., p. 30.

46 The scenes in the window depict St Martin dividing his cloak with a pauper; Christ appearing to St Martin; St Martin being baptised; St Martin dressed as a monk preforming an exorcism; St Martin being assaulted by two highwaymen; and his burial. This is a rare example of late-sixteenth century stained glass for the region of Cher, however, its late date excludes it from the remit of this work. Louis Grodecki, Corpus vitrearum, France. Recensement II. Les vitraux du centre et des pays de la Loire, Paris, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1981, p. 167-168; Toulier Aubigny-Sur-Nere, op. cit., p. 23.

47 Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 144-147; Jean-Pierre Babelon, Le Château en France, Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1988, p. 786.

48 Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649-1734), was mistress of Charles II. In December 1673, she was awarded the title of duchess of Aubigny.

49 The fermaillet was a buckle which featured prominently on the Stuart d’Aubigny arms. It was also used on the arms for the town of Aubigny-sur-Nère. It is likely that Jean Stuart of Darnley adopted the fermaillet from his Bonkyl heritage in order to distinguish the new branch of the Darnley family based in Aubigny.

50 The second and fourth carved pillars on the door are crowned by salamanders. The first is crowned by a vase or chalice motif, and the third by a lion. The door is bordered by a rosary design identical to that on the La Verrerie sacristy doors.

51 This figure has previously been incorrectly identified as St George.

52 Bérault Stuart’s coat of arms appears above the doorway to the spiral staircase in the accommodation to the east.

53 Jean-Yves Ribault, “Présentation du Château de La Verrerie,” Cahiers d’archéologie et d’histoire du Berry, 27, 1971, p. 2-12 (p. vi). In an inventory of 1516, there is no mention of the gallery, however, in a second inventory taken in 1531 we find mention of a “chambre neuve des galleries,” a “chambre basse pres de la gallerie de bois,” and a “galerie d’en haut,” confirming the existence of the gallery at this point.

54 Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 166-170.

55 The present medallions are resin copies of the original sculptures undertaken in 1995. Badly weathered remnants of the originals remain in the chapel.

56 Other examples of stone galleries from this area, include Jacques Coeur’s Palace, the Château de la Chapelle d’Angillon, Château Nançay, Hôtel Cujas and Hôtel Lallement.

57 For Italian influence during this period, see Arthur A. Tilley, The Dawn of the French Renaissance, New York, Russell & Russell, 1968; David Abulafia (ed.), The French Descent into Renaissance Italy 1494-95, Antecedents and Effects, Aldershot, Ashgate, 1995; B. Chancel-Bardelot (ed.), France 1500: entre Moyen Âge et Renaissance, Paris, Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2010-11. Cardinal Georges d’Amboise employed the sculptor Guido Mazzoni as an intermediary in providing a series of twelve sculpted medallions for Gaillon, another nine were procured by Prégent de Bidoulx. In 1502 the clerics of the cathedral of Milan authorised Cristoforo Solari to execute six marble medallions for a “maréchal of France.” This was too early for the maréchal to be identified with Robert. For Georges d’Amboise, see Une Renaissance en Normandie, Le Cardinal Georges d’Amboise Bibliophile et Mécène, F. Calame-Levert, M. Hermant & G. Toscano (eds.), Paris, Gourcuff Gradenigo, 2017.

58 Sylvie Béguin, Andrea Solario en France, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1985, p. 67-8; Dana Bentley-Cranch, “An Early Sixteenth-Century French Architectural Source for the Palace of Falkland,” Review of Scottish Culture, 2, 1986, p. 85-96; Pierre Lesueur, “Le Château de Bury et l’architecte Fra Giocondo,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 13, 1925, p. 337-357; Martha Wolff (ed.), Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France, Yale University Press, 2011, p. 188-9.

59 On the upper façade of the gallery, however, the decorative frames for the windows include small portrait medallions much closer in style to those mentioned in relation to Robert’s peers. The figures in this instance appear to be classical heroes and Roman emperors.

60 The medallions may reflect a contemporary taste for Italian fashions illustrated, for instance, in the illuminated medallions of Milanese beauties executed by Johannes Ambrosius Nucetus for Francis I. This manuscript contains a gallery of portraits of Milanese beauties married to high ranking noblemen. Each lady is represented in an independent medallion with a removable covering. Johannes Ambrosius Nucetus, Milan, Biblioteca Trivulziana, Cod. Triv. 2159. An earlier, local example of bust-length portraits of women in medallions is found in the border of the ninth peril of hell in Jean Colombe’s, Des Douze Périls d’Enfer, c. 1480, BnF. ms. fr. 449, f. 77. Comparisons may also be drawn with the galleries of fashionable Italian ladies included in Bodleian Douce 264 and BnF, Fr. 24461.

61 For Laurana, see George L. Hersey, Alfonso II and the Artistic Renewal of Naples, London, Yale University Press, 1969, p. 27-44. Bérault was likely acquainted with Laurana’s work from his time in Naples. For Bérault’s patronage, see Bryony Coombs, “Identity and Agency in the Patronage of Bérault Stuart d’Aubigny: the Political Self-Fashioning of a Franco-Scottish Soldier and Diplomat,” The Mediaeval Journal, 7.1, 2017, p. 89-143.

62 All’antica, meaning “in the manner of the ancients was employed as a style that sought to revive the style and principles of the classical past. Medallions fashioned after Roman coins and ancient prototypes formed an important part of this.

63 P. J. de Bengy-Puyvallée, Mémoire historique sur le Berry et particulièrement sur quelques châteaux du département du Cher, Bourges, Vermeil, 1842, p. 43; Buhot de Kersers, Histoire et statistique, op. cit., p. 169; Cust, Some Accounts, op. cit., p. 62-64; Ribault, art. cit., p. viii; J. Frizot & B. de Vogüé, Le Château de la Verrerie, Nantes, Victor Stanne, 2007, p. 84-85; Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 78, n. 165. Polychrome interior decoration was popular in France during this period, however, much has been lost. Some comparative examples include: Le château de Dissais; château de Bioule; chapelle de Montreuil-Bellay; château d’Anjony; chapelle Breuil; château de Villeneuve-Lembron; Château du Plessis-Bourré; Château de Rochechouart. Chancel-Bardelot, France 1500, op. cit., p. 61. For a stylistically similar tapestry representation, see Knight with the Arms of Jean de Daillon, Montacute House, Somerset, NT 598106.

64 Buhot de Kersers describes the gallery as being lit by eight windows, four on each side. Painted in the broad intervals between the windows were “des épisodes de l’histoire des Stuart des Aubigny.” He notes that the paintings were in a poor state and that it was difficult to gather anything more specific than the overall theme of the decoration. He noted that the costumes, writing, and insignia all suggest a date during the reign of Francis I.

65 Two further copies of figures on foot were lent to the museum of the old Alliance in the château at Aubigny.

66 Harley Ms. 1423, no. 49, f. 103.

67 The reference team at the British Library confirmed that “the style appears to fit with late 16th-century/early 17th-century handwriting. It looks similar to the document immediately preceding it, written by Dr Joseph Hall (1574–1656), which would suggest early 17th century.” The Harley document should not be confused with the description of a different group-portrait recorded in National Library of Scotland Advocates MS.29.3.14, f. 74-75. This is a description of a later group-portrait of the d’Aubigny family. “Copy of a Memorandum taken by Andrew Stuart esq. at the Chateau d’Aubigny in France, in the month November 1788,” Edinburgh Magazine, 1799, p. 200.

68 Key to dating the murals are the titles of the figures included. According to Harley MS 1423, all the seigneurs d’Aubigny up until Robert, 5th seigneur d’Aubigny, are shown. John Stuart, 6th Seigneur d’Aubigny, is not included (certainly with this title). This gives a date prior to Robert’s death in 1544.

69 The inclusion of James IV is both important and problematic. Certainly, Bérault cultivated a close relationship with this monarch. Coombs, art. cit., 2017. His inclusion tells us something of the enduring fame and high reputation of this particular Scottish king. It is likely that the patron of the murals sought to glorify himself and the other great mercenaries in his family alongside this famed chivalric king of Scotland. Yet, one would expect the murals to include the reigning king of Scotland and this casts some doubt over the accuracy of the transcription.

70 The murals may already have been suffering from degradation at this point, or errors may have occurred due to the transcriber being unfamiliar with the Stuart d’Aubigny lineage.

71 According to the later copy, Robert’s portrait included his heraldry on his tabard and his horse’s bridle and caparison was adorned with ciphers, fermaillet and the initials “R” and “I.”

72 The equestrian portrait was an artistic form particularly associated with mercenary soldiers in Italy. See for instance Donatello’s bronze of condottiere Gattamelata in Padua, Uccello’s equestrian funerary monument to the English mercenary, Sir John Hawkwood, and Bartolomeo Colleoni by Verrocchio in Venice. French equestrian statuary appears to have followed its own tradition, largely independent of Italy. A local example is an equestrian statue which originally adorned the façade of the house of Jacques Coeur, Bourges, and is known through a manuscript illumination in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Ms. Lat. 10103, f. 148v. Another is the equestrian portrait of the maréchal de Gié, Robert’s predecessor as maréchal of France. In I499 the maréchal placed an equestrian statue of himself over the entrance to his Château le Verger. The statue is now only known through a drawing in the Gaignières collection. The elaborate caparison and tunic, liberally endowed with heraldic insignia are comparable to what we know of the La Verrerie murals. Christian de Mérindol, “La disposition des bustes et de la statue équestre sur la façade de l’hôtel Jacques-Coeur à Bourges,” Cahiers d’Archéologie & d’histoire du Berry, 1996, p. 245-251; Robert W. Scheller, “Gallia Cisalpina: Louis XII and Italy 1499-1508,” Simiolus, 15, 1985, p. 5-60.

73 Bérault chose to commemorate his successful appointment as governor of Milan with an equestrian portrait in manuscript form, BnF Ars. MS 5062, f. 203v. It may be hypothesised that this larger commission, sought to draw on this visual legacy. Furthermore, records show that the Colombe and Montluçon ateliers in Bourges were also involved in painting murals at this time. For this manuscript, see Coombs, art. cit., 2017.

74 Two inscriptions have been recorded that may relate to an artist who worked on the decoration of the gallery. Ribault noted that on a south window of the upper gallery an inscription read: “Ian van Waveren schilder geboren aus den Hagen in Hollant,” and on the frame of the door of the gallery overlooking the stairs of the west tower was noted: “Ian de Waveren pictor Holandie.” There were two Ian van Wavere’s active in Malines at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Both were members of the painters and sculptors guild, and died in 1521 and 1522. Ribault, art. cit., p. viii; Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 78, n. 165. Amongst other diverse pieces of graffiti in the gallery are the names Robert and Jacqueline and slightly lower “Jayme Jacqueline.” Others include “Gordon vit en espérance,” “semper tui memor ero,” and “Fortuna inimica … avant mourir.” Such graffiti brings to mind the sixteenth-century inscriptions by the Scots guards that adorn the walls of the chapel at Château Chenonceau, in the Loire Valley.

75 Jamie Cameron, James V, The Personal Rule 1528-1542, East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 1998, p. 131-3.

76 “In ane dissimilit vestement he com to the duik of Vendôme fathir of the lady that he suld haif marreit. He wes knawin thare be his picture.” National Library of Scotland MS 1746, f. 125v. That images of James were circulating on the Continent is significant.

77 Mémoires de Martin et Guillaume du Bellay, eds. V. L. Bourrilly & F. Vindry, Paris, Renouard, 1908, III, p. 338-40; Letters from Rodolfo Pio, Papal Nuncio in France, Lyon, 4 & 14 October 1536, British Library, Additional MS 8715, f. 288.

78 British Library, Additional MS 8715, f. 290v.

79 British Library, Additional MS 8715, f. 291; Edmond Bapst, Les Mariages de Jacques V, Paris, Librairie Plon, 1889, p. 292; Mémoires de Martin et Guillaume du Bellay, op. cit., p. 339; John Penven to Sir George Douglas, 22 October 1536 “The kyng (of Scotland) is as zit up at Lyons or else at Rowane azissid,” Letters and Papers, op. cit., XI, no. 916.

80 English reports can be found in Letters and Papers, op. cit., XI, no. 848 and 935.

81 Letters of James V, op. cit., p. 324.

82 For the itinerary, see Catalogue des Actes de Francois Ier, ed. P. Marichal, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1905, VIII, p. 493-4.

83 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 77, n. 163.

84 The inventory of 1544 records a “chambre du roy” at each of the residences. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 102, p. 121-22. Ribault notes that a “chambre du roy” is also recorded in the 1516 inventory of La Verrerie, indicating that Bérault perhaps hosted the French king here on an earlier occasion. Ribault, art. cit., p. v-vi.

85 See n. 37. At the end of July 1535 an embassy was dispatched to France on James V’s behalf. Instructions were given to Robert Reid, Abbott of Kinloss, including a note declaring that if the King [Francis I] is determined to send a personage of honour, he would wish lord Obenze [Aubigny] to come. Letters and Papers, op. cit., VIII, no. 1154.

86 Surrey, Polesden Lacey, NT 1246456, 15 x 12.5 cm. The verso now bears only a paper label, in ink: W.O. / 7743 / 15/1/36. There are two further versions of this painting: one previously at the Weiss Gallery, London, now sold to a private collection, and a second sold in Paris in 1921, its current whereabouts unknown. Dana Bentley-Cranch, “Effigy and Portrait in Sixteenth-Century Scotland,” Review of Scottish Culture, 4, 1988, p. 9-23; Dana Bentley-Cranch and Rosalind K. Marshall, “Iconography and Literature in the Service of Diplomacy: The Franco-Scottish Alliance, James V and Scotland’s Two French Queens,” in J. H. Williams (ed.), Stewart Style 1513-1542, Essays on the Court of James V, East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 1996, p. 273-289; Andrea Thomas, Princelie Majestie: The Court of James V of Scotland, 1528-1542, Edinburgh, Birlinn, 2005, p. 84.

87 Paris, Louvre, RF 1938-8, 20.7 x 17 cm. There are two copies of this painting, one in Bristol, and one at Versailles. There is also a drawing attributed to Jean Clouet inscribed in a sixteenth-century hand “Madame d’Aubigni” at the Musée Condé, Chantilly (MN 199). In this image a young woman is depicted in mourning. Coombs, “Distantia Jungit,” op. cit., p. 124-125; C. Scailliérez (ed.), François Ier et l’Art des Pays-Bas, Paris, Somogy, 2017, p. 272.

88 See n. 28. Corneille is recorded as court painter to Eleanor in 1534.

89 A portrait of Robert Stuart attributed to Corneille de Lyon has not been identified although we know that a number of portraits of Robert were kept at his châteaux, one of which is still on display at La Verrerie today.

90 The structural work was largely completed by 1498. A document recording works executed between 1498-1502 notes that a carpenter, Pierre Dadu, was employed by Bérault to make an altar of wood for the chapel at La Verrerie and two seats. A painter, Robin Lechou, was also employed to “peindre la dite chapelle et garnir les fenêtres de toile.” Ribault, art. cit., p. iv and ix.

91 Ibid., p. ix. The chapel interior contains a number of works commissioned by Robert during his first marriage, prior to Anne’s death in 1517. These include a finely carved tabernacle, which bears the monograms of Christ and the Virgin on either side of the arms of Christ, paralleled below by the initials “R” and “A” flanking the arms of Robert Stuart. The initials in the lower panel are tied by a love knot and interspersed with fermaillets. The two doors leading to the sacristy are ornamented with decorative tympanums bearing finely crafted marble medallions with the gilded letters “R” and “A.” Two impressive, although damaged, sculptures remain in the chapel representing an Annunciation scene, appropriate for a chapel dedicated to this theme. The sculptures include meticulously carved fermaillets in the border of the angel’s robe. It is likely, therefore, that these sculptures were commissioned at the time that the chapel was dedicated to the Assumption and the Annunciation of the Virgin in 1511, and were, therefore, also executed under the patronage of Robert and Anne. The 1544 inventory records that there was also an altar-cloth of white damask embroidered with an Annunciation scene and with the arms of Robert Stuart, again this probably dated to this period.

92 This decoration was revealed and restored c.1930. The ceiling had previously been obscured by a false lower ceiling and the walls had been hidden behind a layer of plaster which appears to have been added in the late eighteenth century. The restoration was undertaken by Ypermann, who had previously worked on the papal palace at Avignon. Ypermann over-painted the last portrait medallion on the right with a portrait of Marie, countess of Terray, a daughter of his employer, Louis de Vogüé.

93 The apostles’ creed begins with St Peter at the head of the chapel on the left and makes its way back towards the door. It continues at the head of the chapel on the right with St John the Evangelist and makes its way back to the door. The twelve apostles were commonly found decorating the walls of chapels at this time. John Stuart, Duke of Albany’s Sainte-Chapelle at Vic-le-Comte is ornamented with twelve sculpted apostles, as are the walls of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. At the head of the chapel under the four evangelists are two small angels, each holding a banner with the arms of Aubigny in one hand, and Robert’s arms in the other. Bryony Coombs, “The Artistic Patronage of John Stuart, Duke of Albany, 1520-1530: Vic-le-Comte, the Last Sainte-Chapelle,” Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 147, 2017, p. 175-217.

94 Fleur-de-lis surround St Philip, while fermaillets surround the image of St James the Greater. Thistles are to be found on each side of a window between St John the Evangelist and St Andrew.

95 On the west wall above the entrance to the chapel is an image of St Christopher carrying the Christ Child.

96 These two figures appear heavily restored.

97 The faint outline of a second coat of arms may be observed below that of the royal arms of France. Although this probably bore the arms of Robert, no trace of the paintwork survives.

98 The work of Mantegna was very popular at the French court in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Cardinal Georges d’Amboise, Florimond Robertet, Louis II de la Trémoille, and the young Francis I all sought to own his work. While the inspiration for the La Verrerie paintings may owe something to Italy, the execution appears French. The painting of the putti in their gathered, flowing robes is close to contemporary French manuscript illustrations. See, for instance, the drawings attributed to François Robertet, Paris, BnF MS fr. 24461, f. 38.

99 “[...] son alogiati ale camere bianche de sopra e de sotto, tanto bene apparate che non se li poteria giongere. Hano voluto audientia in castello nela camera depincta et per quanto ho potuto comprehendere, rimangono satisfactissimi in ogni cosa,” Archivio di Stato di Mantova, AG b.2446 c.611. David Chambers, “Francesco II Gonzaga, marquis of Mantua ‘Liberator of Italy,’” in Abulafia, op. cit., p. 221.

100 In execution the portraits bear similarities to ceiling paintings, some of which appear to be portraits, at the Maison du patrimoine de Lagrasse, also dating to the early sixteenth century. See Monique Bourin et al (eds.), Images oubliées du Moyen Âge, les plafonds peints du Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier, Direction régionale des affaires culturelles du Languedoc-Roussillon, 2011.

101 The portrait medallion of Robert corresponds fairly closely to a full-length portrait still displayed at La Verrerie identified as Robert Stuart. This identification has been made by Mme Scaillérez in 2002 who dated the painting to 1525-30. See Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 78, n. 165. With regards to the medallions, it is likely that the female profile facing Robert is Jacqueline. The portrait of Francis I represents the king as a young beardless figure, and is close to an early portrait medallion of the king struck between 1515, when he came to the throne, and 1518.

102 James IV was killed at Flodden in 1513. James V, was born in 1512. The medallion is relatively close to the depictions of James V on the obverse of the silver groat, for instance, minted in Edinburgh 1526-39. What is key, is that there appears to have been a recognised iconography of Stuart portraiture in France. This can be seen in the illuminated genealogy appended to John Stuart, Duke of Albany’s French translation of the Liber Pluscardensis. The final completed medallion in this genealogy is identified as “James I” and is a good example of the representation of a Stuart monarch by a French artist. The La Verrerie medallion also appears to represent a Stuart monarch, likely James V. In doing so, it draws on a general iconography employed in France to represent members of the royal Stuart line. This identification has not previously been made. For Albany’s manuscript, see Bryony Coombs, “The Artistic Patronage of John Stuart, Duke of Albany, 1518-19: The ‘Discovery’ of the Artist and Author, Bremond Domat,” The Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 144, 2014, p. 277-310.

103 The inventory records a “chambre du fauconnier,” and a “faulconnerie a esté trouvé troys faulcons.” Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p 130 and 132.

104 The use of the portrait medallion evoked ideas of classical triumph. An illuminated manuscript, of 1519, commemorating Francis I’s victory at Marignano used the portrait medallion to this effect. In this work, Francis I is paralleled with the great military leader, Julius Caesar. The illuminator, Godfrey le Batave, expressed this idea by including a portrait medallion of the French king above that of Caesar. Additional images included in the manuscript, attributed to Jean Clouet, extend this idea by illustrating French generals in portrait medallions. The French generals’ portraits are conflated with the names of celebrated Roman warriors. Robert Stuart was not included in this manuscript, despite his role at Marignano. The artist has used the format of the portrait medallion to encourage the viewer to draw parallels between contemporary military heroes and antique heroes of the classical past. A similar objective may have been sought by the artist of the la Verrerie roundels, who certainly included an image of a Roman emperor in a medallion at the head of the chapel.

105 François Blanquart, “La chapelle de Gaillon et les fresques d’Andrea Solario,” Extrait du Bulletin de la Société des Amis des Arts du département de l’Eure, 1899, p. 17.

106 In 1544 Matthew Stuart 4th Earl of Lennox defected to Henry VIII. Jean Stuart, 6th seigneur d’Aubigny was subsequently imprisoned for high treason by Francis I. On June 13, the lieutenant general of Berry, François de L’Aubespine, facilitated the confiscation of his Berrichon properties. Inventories of the possessions at the châteaux at Aubigny, La Verrerie and Crotet were thus drawn up.

107 “A canopy stretched above the table of green velvet, with figures of gold and silver cloth; where there is a portrait of a person enriched by a great ruby with three diamonds around it, another diamond hanging from the neck with a large pearl, and below an emerald, the arms of the late monseigneur the marshal surrounded by the collar of the order with golden shells, three sides serving said canopy, of the same appearance, with a fringe of gold double of green damask. Six pieces of green damask tapestry made with great persons of gold cloth, silver, gold cloth, silver and other enrichments and embroideries in which, except in two of them, are two persons, and in said two large pieces are four persons as each of these serves as two pieces, plus a piece of green damask without embroidery, serving as an extension of the said tapestry.” Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 104.

108 This set of figures of gold and silver cloth brings to mind Robert’s appointment as a judge at the “Field of the Cloth of Gold” tournament.

109 Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 98, p. 101, p. 102-103, p. 107.

110 Ibid., p. 118-123, p. 126-127.

111 Ibid., p. 105.

112 The small painting of the king of Scotland held at La Verrerie provides evidence that the king gave Robert a gift of a portrait, perhaps on his visit there in 1536. The portrait is listed as a black wooden box with a portrait gilded and “estouffé” with colours and certainly Corneille de Lyon’s painting of James V from Polesden Lacey is liberally highlighted with gold. The collar and pendant of St Michael is absent in the Weiss Gallery version. Bonner, Documents, op. cit., p. 123-4. Among the list of images recorded in the chapel were two portraits of the popes, Julius II and Leo X. These paintings were perhaps acquired as diplomatic gifts, or as “souvenirs” by Robert while he was in Italy.

113 For the concept of magnificence in late medieval aesthetics, see C. S. Jaeger (ed.), Magnificence and the Sublime in Medieval Aesthetics, New York, Palgrave, 2010.

114 The idea of the valorisation of the family through the use of interior decoration, drawing on themes of lineage and alliance, has recently been explored in a number of essays included in G. Bartholeyns, M. Bourin et P.-O. Dittimar (eds.), Images de soi dans l’univers domestique XIIIe-XVIe siècle, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2018. This current paper provides new insights into this theme by considering a family with dual allegiance to two kings.

115 “Donation par Charles VII a Jean Stuart Seigneur de Derneley, Connétable de l’armée d’Écosse des terres de Concressault & d’Aubigny-sur-Nère (21 Avril 1421, 26 Mars 1423, 3 December 1425),” ed. Jacques Soyer, Mémoires de la société historique littéraire et scientifique du Cher, 14, 1899, p. 21-34.

116 William Dunbar, The Poems of Dunbar, ed. Priscilla Bawcutt, 2 vols, Glasgow, The Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 2000, p. 179. Discussed in Coombs, art. cit., 2017, p. 89-143.

117 For Bérault’s impresa, see Paolo Giovio, Dialogo dell’imprese, militari et amorose di monsignor Giovio vescouo di Nocera, ed. Lodovico Domenichi, Lione, Appresso Gvglielmo Roviglio, 1559, p. 92. For the manuscript detailing members of the Order of St Michael, see Vatican Urb. lat. 282, f. 6v. Discussed in Coombs, art. cit., 2017, p. 89-143.

118 Accounts of the Master of Works, ed. H. M. Paton, Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1957, p. xxxi, p. xxxiv, p. l, p. 208. We do not know when he took up the position of master mason at Dunbar. Iain MacIvor, “Artillery and Major Places of Strength in the Lothians and the East Border, 1513-1543,” in David H. Caldwell (ed.), Scottish Weapons and Fortifications 1100-1800, Edinburgh, John Donald Publishers Ltd, 1981, p. 1100-1800; Bryony Coombs, “John Stuart, Duke of Albany and his contribution to military science in Scotland and Italy, 1514-36,” Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 148, 2019, p. 231-266.

119 Thomas, Princely Majesty, op. cit., p. 56-7. Thomas notes (p. 71) that nearly £13,000 was spent on improvements and extensions to buildings earlier begun by James IV.

120 The east façade is inscribed with the date 1537 and was probably executed by Moyse Martin.

121 The courtyard façades at Falkland provide “a display of early Renaissance architecture without parallel in the British Isles.” M. Girouard, “Falkland Palace, Fife I,” Country Life, CXXVI, no. 3260, 1959, p. 118-121. Bentley-Cranch, art. cit., 1986, p. 85-95; J. G. Dunbar, “Some Sixteenth-Century French Parallels for the Palace of Falkland,” Review of Scottish Culture, 7, 1991, p. 3-8 (p. 5). The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland (Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum), Edinburgh, H. M. General Register House, 1882, III, no. 1763.

122 Dunbar draws particular attention to the similar use of pilaster-buttresses dividing the façade into regular bays. This is a feature which appears to have been present on a grand château owned by John Stuart, Duke of Albany at Vic-le-Comte. The château no longer survives, however, the possibility remains that this building was also known by James V.

123 For Bérault’s use of the motto “Distantia Jungit” and the idea that he promoted himself as a buckle uniting Scotland and France, see Coombs, art. cit., 2017.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Details of the carved decoration on the Maison du Bailli, Aubigny-sur-Nère
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 545k
Titre Fig. 2. The Arms of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A Roof boss in the church of St Martin, Aubigny-sur-Nère
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,7M
Titre Fig. 3. Gateway of the château at Aubigny-sur-Nère
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,2M
Titre Fig. 4. Château de La Verrerie from the west and the gallery seen from the courtyard
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 625k
Titre Fig. 5. The sculpted Medallions and decorative pillars from the gallery at château de La Verrerie
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2009
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,2M
Titre Fig. 6. Robert Stuart d’Aubigny. A ninteenth-century copy of a sixteenth-century mural at château de La Verrerie. The original paintings adorned the upper gallery. Four of the copies are displayed in the lower gallery
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 869k
Titre Fig. 7. “In the Gallerie of La Verrerie.” Harley MS 1423, f.103r -103v
Crédits © The British Library Board
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,5M
Titre Map. 1 The approximate route taken by James V in 1536 on his tour of central France, showing his proximity to Aubigny-sur-Nère
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Titre Fig. 8. Left: King James V of Scotland, Corneille de Lyon, Polesden Lacey, Surrey, NT 1246456. Right: Jacqueline de La Queuille, Corneille de Lyon, Paris, The Louvre, RF 1938-8
Crédits © National Trust Images/ Derrick E. Witty (left) / © RMN, Musée du Louvre (right)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 681k
Titre Fig. 9. The chapel at château de La Verrerie. Left: exterior. Right: Painted interior
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 661k
Titre Fig. 10. Left: A putti bearing a portrait medallion at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: Andrea Mantegna, A putti bearing a medallion of the Roman emperor Otto, Camera Picta, Ducal Palace, Mantua
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007 (left). Antonio Quattrone /Mondadori Portfolio © [age footstock] (right)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 700k
Titre Fig. 11: Left: A portrait medallion with thistles depicting a Scottish monarch, likely James V, at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: James IV, Anonymous artist, Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, PG 685
Crédits © Bryony Coombs 2007 (left). © RCAHMS (right)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 512k
Titre Fig. 12. Left: Sculpted medallion of a young woman from the gallery at La Verrerie. Right: Sculpted medallion of a young woman, Falkland Palace, south range
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2009 (left). © RCAHMS (right)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 668k
Titre Fig. 13. Left: A portrait medallion of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny at the chapel at La Verrerie. Right: Stirling head, No. 22. A Nobleman
Crédits © Bryony Coombs, 2007 (left). © Crown Copyright reproduced courtesy of Historic Scotland (right)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/docannexe/image/6622/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 654k
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Bryony Coombs, « Drawing Blood : The Visual Patronage of Robert Stuart d’Aubigny, Maréchal of France, in Relation to James V’s French Sojourn of 1536  »Études Épistémè [En ligne], 37 | 2020, mis en ligne le 01 octobre 2020, consulté le 23 janvier 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/episteme/6622 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/episteme.6622

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Auteur

Bryony Coombs

Dr Bryony Coombs earned her PhD from the University of Ediburgh. Her thesis was entitled “Distantia Jungit, Scots Patronage of the Visual Arts in France, 1450-1550.” Her recently published articles include “Material Diplomacy: A Continental Manuscript for James III, Edinburgh University Library MS 195,” The Scottish Historical Review, 98: 2 (2019) and “John Stuart, Duke of Albany and his Contribution to Military Science in Scotland and Italy, 1514-1536: From Dunbar to Rome,” PSAS, 148 (2018). For this latter piece she was awarded the Murray Medal for History in November 2019. Forthcoming work includes a book chapter entitled “Albany and the Poets: John Stuart, Duke of Albany, and the transfer of ideas between Scotland and the Continent, 1509-1536” and a project funded by the British Archaeological Association entitled “Devotion in Text and Stone: Female Authority and Agency in Margaret of Scotland’s Foundation of a Royal Chapel at Thouars and her ‘Speciosissimas’ Book of Hours.”

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