Coker Court, Somerset, has its origins in the Middle Ages and remained in the Courtenay family until 1591 and changed hands three times in the following 25 years, the last being to Achdeacon Helyar in 1616, with whose descendants it remained. His grandson, who fought to help James II to suppress the Monmouth rebellion, succeeded him after his death in 1645, and it was possibly under him that the suite of six tapestries of the Marc Anthony and Cleopatra series were purchased and installed.
The tapestry series depicting The Story of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, to which this lot belongs, is first mentioned in a document of 7 June 1651. The weavers Geraert van der Strecken (d. 1677) and Jan van Leefdael (d. 1680) then signed a contract to supply a set of ten tapestries to the Antwerp merchant Louis Malo (d. after 1668). Guillaume van Leefdael, son of Jan, opened his own workshop in 1656 and was active until 1684. Because the Coker Court tapestries also bear the Gerard van der Strecken signature it is almost certain that the set was woven between the founding of the Guillaume van Leefdael workshop and before Gerard van der Strecken's death in 1677.
Four other panels of this set from the property of S.A. Walker-Heneage, Coker Court, Somersert, were sold at Sotheby's, London, 30 April 1971, lots 14, 15, 18 and 19; three of which were re-offered at Christie's, London, 5 July 1979, lots 121 - 123, and again at Christie's, London, 27 March 1980, lots 130 - 132. At least one of the panels is signed Gerard van der Strecken. A set of three tapestries from the same series but with slightly differing borders and by Jan van Leefdael remains today in the Quirinale, Rome (N. Forti Grazzini, op cit., pp. 199 - 205), while a further five panels, probably from the same set are in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence.