Oval, on vellum, in a rectangular dark-stained fruitwood veneer frame, 6.1cm. Signed and dated ‘Du Guernier/ pinxit/ 1658’ on the reverse.
The sitter, shown in full armour, reflecting his martial interests, was the eldest son of the 3rd Earl and Countess of Devonshire. The miniature is listed in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, or Deed of Gift, an immense bequest from the Countess (1619-1689), to her only daughter, (and his sister), Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703), which records: ‘A picture of the present Earle of Devonshire done in ffrance.’
William Cavendish succeeded his father as 4th Earl of Devonshire in 1684 and was created 1st Duke in 1694.
Louis du Guernier was a Protestant from a well-to-do family made destitute by the French Wars of Religion. After the early death of his father, he began to paint miniatures to support his numerous siblings, many of whom also became painters.