Martial Courteys, the enameler who signed his works with the initials M.C., was the second son of Pierre Courteys. His works are dated between 1544 and about 1581. His father bequeathed to him his house in the Magnine district, where enamelers lived close together in Limoges. There is no doubt that Martial converted to Protestantism, but there is no proof that his father became a Huguenot as well. However, Martial's elder brother, Pierre II, and his younger brother, Pierre III, had to leave Limoges. They became, respectively, the first goldsmith and "valet de chambre ordinaire" to Henry IV, king of Navarre, and the second painter and enameler to Henry IV's sister, Catherine de Bourbon. Both Henry IV and Catherine de Bourbon were Protestants.
Not many enamels by Martial Courteys are known. He excelled equally in colored and grisaille enamels, with a particular talent for combining elements from various enravings as sources. Martial Courteys remained throughout his life in Limoges, where he died circa 1592. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Ardant, Maurice. "Emailleurs limousins: Les Courteys." Bulletin de la société archéologique et historique du Limousin 10 (1860): 82-160 159-160.
Girodet 1878, 358-370.
Verdier 1967, xiv, xxiv.
Distelberger, Rudolf, Alison Luchs, Philippe Verdier, and Timonthy H. Wilson. Western Decorative Arts, Part I: Medieval, Renaissance, and Historicizing Styles including Metalwork, Enamels, and Ceramics. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1993: 101.