FRENCH 16TH CENTURY WORKSHOPS
The colouring and stylistic features of the figures are comparable to French tapestries of the 16th century. Although there is a number of records relating to French tapestry production of the period and a limited number of examples that survive, a full study of the subject has yet to be undertaken. It is therefore difficult to attribute tapestries with certainty to workshops and designers, a task that is further complicated by the fact that tapestry weavers in France did not have to sign tapestries as was customary for example in Brussels after 1528. Numerous tapestry workshops existed in places such as Paris, Tours, Toulouse, Nevers, Bordeaux and the Marche region, but the production was not stable and ateliers must have had a much riskier existence than their counterparts in Flanders. Paris was the most important weaving center and counted thirty to forty master weavers in the mid-16th century, but only Pierre de Larris, Girard and Guy Laurens, Louis de Cambry, Pierre Dumellin and Antoine and Jacques Huiselin appear to have received a steady stream of commissions. Most weavers maintained small workshops and frequently cooperated on commissions or sub-contracted work to colleagues for faster completion of contracts.
(T. Campbell, Tapestry in the Renaissance, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2002, pp. 459 - 469)
A woodcut entitled Stag Hunt by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) of circa 1506 (E.A. Standen, European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, p. 756, fig. 87) has a very similar figure of a man walking and holding a dog on a leash (in reverse) and further similar dogs to the ones in this tapestry. This copying of figures or figure groups from woodcuts or other tapestry designs can frequently be found during this period. Similarly a fleeing stag with comparable movement is depicted in the South Netherlandish early 16th century tapestry entitled The Hunt of the Frail Stag in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (A.S. Cavallo, Medieval Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993, p. 458, fig. 32a).
The main surviving examples of Parisian tapestries from this period include: The Story of Diana woven in Paris in circa 1550 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Muéee des Antiquités in Rouen and château d'Anet in Normandy), the Gallery of Francis I woven at Fontainebleau in circa 1539 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), The Story of St. Mamas woven in Paris in circa 1544 - 1545 (Musée du Louvre) and The Story of Psyche which was probably woven in Paris in the mid-16th century (Sotheby's, Monaco, 16 June 1990, lots 953 - 955 and Sotheby's, New York, 29 January 1998, lot 23). A tapestry with related stag hunt and similar figure along the left edge of the tapestry was sold anonymously, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 25 May 1968, lot 154, while another related stag hunt tapestry from the collection of R.A. Wills, Thornby Hall, Northamptonshire, was sold Christie's, House Sale, 22-23 October 1984, lot 244. Both of these latter tapestries are so closely related in weave and design that they may emanate from the same workshop as the offered lot.