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The £120,000 sketch, funded by a £60,000 grant from each body, shows The Coronation of Henri IV (c.1628). It is now on display with work by other Flemish masters at the museum, which already possesses four other Rubens sketches.

In 1622, Rubens was commissioned to execute a series of pictures depicting the life of Henri IV. Cardinal Richelieu obstructed the choice of Rubens, preferring an Italian artist, and even as late as 1629 he was making suggestions for alternatives.

The series was never completed, but a handful of studies survive, of which this vibrant sketch is one. The oil sketch shows the King, attended by two pages, kneeling before the Bishop of Chartres, who places his crown upon his head. Behind him stand two cardinals, while two secular attendants, holding the main-de-justice and the sceptre, wait on the right. Above the group, an angel and the dove of the Holy Ghost signify divine approbation. The composition is very sketchily painted and dark lines in chalk, which appear to be underneath the paint, suggest that the artist originally intended a smaller composition.