• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 2203

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe Including Carpets from The Corcoran Gallery of Art

    24 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 98



    Price Realised  


    Probably depicting an episode from Pastor Fido, with a lady, possibly Dorinde before a sleeping man and with Cupid hiding in a tree, border with Brussels town mark, areas of reweaving, limited areas of losses, right hand side of bottom border replaced, further areas of border patching
    11 ft. 3 in. (343 cm.) high, 9 ft. 6¼ in. (290 cm.) wide

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    This and the previous lot are inscribed to the top as illustrating scenes from the Story of the Loves of Astrée and Celadon, but the depictions do not appear in the poem by Honorée d'Urfé that is meant to have inspired this series. They have been identified by Marguerite Calberg and Koen Brosens as actually belonging to a now rare set of tapestries depicting the popular story of Le Pastor Fido (The Faithful Shepherd), a pastoral tragicomedy by Giovanni Battista Guarini (1538 - 1612) that was first published in 1590. The story is set in Arcadia where the inhabitants have to sacrifice a virgin to Diana annually. The beautiful Arcadian Lucrine cheated the priest Aminto into this burden, from which, according to the oracle, they cannot be freed until two children descending from celestial parents get married. Montano, a descendant of Hercules and an Arcadian priest, thus decides to marry his son Silvio to Amarillis the daughter of Titire, a descendant of Pan. Amarillis, however, is in love with Mirtillo, the faithful shepherd, who is suddenly revealed a son of Montano and can thus marry his love, which frees Arcadia from the burden.

    Interestingly there are further panels of this series at the Santiago Cathedral also inscribed with the erroneous title. It appears that the weaver and patron did not mind renaming an existing series of designs to fit their particular needs.

    Christie's would like to thank Guy Delmarcel for his kind help in researching this and the previous lot.


    Georg Leary, 1954.


    A. Desprechins, L'Astrée dans les Tapisseries Flamandes et Brabançonnes, 'Artes Textiles', Gent, 1981, Vol. X, pp. 195 - 196. E. Standen, Tapestries in the Collection of the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, 'Carnegie Magazine', Pittsburg, December 1981, pp. 9 - 11.