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    Sale 7623

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries

    6 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 560

    A LOUIS XIV MYTHOLOGICAL TAPESTRY

    BY JEAN LEFEBVRE, GOBELINS, EARLY 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A LOUIS XIV MYTHOLOGICAL TAPESTRY
    BY JEAN LEFEBVRE, GOBELINS, EARLY 18TH CENTURY
    Woven in wools and silks, depicting Aeneas meeting Venus from the Story of Dido and Aeneas, flanked to the sides by borders decorated with ribbon-tied love trophies and centred by scrollwork cartouches, signed to the lower right of the field 'LEFEBVRE.G.' and with Paris townmark, very limited areas of repair
    7 ft. 11 in. x 10 ft. 9 in. (242 cm. x 328 cm.)


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    Although official records at the Royal Gobelins Manufactory were meticulously kept, this tapestry panel is not listed. During the late 17th and early 18th century the heads of workshops, in this case Jean Lefebvre, were allowed to produce their own tapestry series, such as the Gobelins set depicting Flora previously in the collection of Mme Craven and now at the Louvre (also by Jean Lefebvre), for private clients due to the financial difficulties of the state and consequent lack of official commissions.

    In each auction sale this tapestry was accompanied by another panel depicting Aeneas being introduced to Dido.
    Mr. William Butterworth (d. 1936) was both president and chairman of Deere & Company, the tractor business, after marrying Katherine Deere in 1892. This tapestry hung in their main residence in Moline, Ill.
    Mr. Marcel Bich (d. 1994) was an industrialist in Paris who bought a factory with Eduard Buffard in 1945 to manufacture fountain pens. In 1950 he bought the patent for ballpoint pens and his company survives until today as Société Bic.
    Both tapestries were offered at Sotheby's, New York, on 22 May 2001 as lots 106 - 107, with provenances as reputedly having belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte in St. Helena and subsequently being in a private collection in Inverness, Scotland from 1902 - 1960s. The French & Co records refute that provenance.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Robertson, sold Anderson Galleries, 5 December 1924, lot 45, and purchased by
    French & Co, New York, sold on 17 October 1925 to
    Mr. and Mrs. William Butterworth, Moline, Ill., sold Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 21 - 23 October 1954, lot 507, and purchased by
    French & co, New York, sold on 2 June 1965 to
    Marcel Bich.