The scene illustrated in this tapestry is based on a story told by Hesiod. Pandora, the 'all-giver' and 'all-gifted', had been fashioned from clay by Vulcan, whose workshop is visible along the left side of the tapestry. Jupiter sent her to earth to bring punishement to mankind for Prometheus' theft of fire. She brought with her a box given to her by Jupiter, which when opened, ended the Golden Age and set free evils that have since come upon the human race.
Hendrick II Reydams (1650-1719) took over the workshop of his father in 1669 and led it until it closed in 1719. They were an important Brussels weaver family. Hendrick II married Catharina Leyniers, daughter of the cartoon painter Daniel and herself a member of the highly important family of weavers and dyers. He became dean member of the weaver's guilt in 1687 and is recorded as having five looms in operation in 1703. Reydams engaged in a prolific partership with Urbanus and Daniel II Leyniers in 1712 when his workshop had 22 looms and 47 weavers, and completed numerous series with them until his death, each signing their own names.
The workshop was in particular famous for its armorial tapestries after David Terniers The Younger, landscapes, sometimes with small figures, and mythological tapestries, such as this one.
An inventory of the estate of Urbans Leyniers, who had collaborated with Hendrick II Reydams between 1712 and 1719, drawn up in 1747, lists the little Known Johannes de Reyff, student of Lancelot Volder, as the author of a serie of six tapestries illustrating The Story of Jupiter. The present design probably belongs to this set.
(G. Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestry, Tielt, 1999, p. 306.)