• Important Early European Furni auction at Christies

    Sale 7764

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture & Tapestries

    5 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 284

    A ROYAL LOUIS XV ALLEGORICAL TAPESTRY

    GOBELINS, BY CLAUDE AUDRAN, THIRD QUARTER 18TH CENTURY, AFTER BERNAERT VAN ORLEY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROYAL LOUIS XV ALLEGORICAL TAPESTRY
    GOBELINS, BY CLAUDE AUDRAN, THIRD QUARTER 18TH CENTURY, AFTER BERNAERT VAN ORLEY
    Woven in silks and wools, depicting 'July' from the 'Months of Lucas', with a courtly dressed male and female falconeer on horseback beside a fruiting tree and a further huntsman in the foreground, in the background peasants in the field and children playing in a pond, the elaborate border within foliate-wrapped reeds, centred to the top with a cartouche bearing the crowned coats-of-arms, the angles decorated with strapwork cartouches bearing the interlaced 'L's flanked by curnucopiae issuing fruit and flowers, the bottom border centred by a cartouche depicting a lion, within a blue outer slip, the field signed lower right 'AUDRAN.', the slip with signature 'AUDRAN.G.' and with fleur-de-lys
    14 ft. x 9 ft. 9 in. (427 cm. x 296 cm.)


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    ORIGINS OF THE SERIES
    The Seasons of Lucas series was probably originally designed by a Flemish artist of the school of Bernaert van Orley in about 1535 although the name, which was erroneously given in the early 17th century, refers to Lucas van Leyden. The series was subsequently woven in Brussels and Bruges, while the Royal Gobelins versions appear to be based on a set of twelve Brussels tapestries that belonged to Louis XIV, woven circa 1535 and destroyed in 1797 to recouperate the silver and gold-thread in them. The series was first copied in Paris in the mid-17th century and then further altered and 'updated' for the weavings at Gobelins.

    The first Gobelins version was probably woven for Colbert and lists the set in the inventory taken after his death in 1683, while the first weaving for King Louis XIV took place in 1688. Most of the 12 Gobelins sets recorded by Fenaille (Etat général des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1903, pp. 337 - 370), remained in the Royal collections while there are some unrecorded private weavings.

    HISTORY OF THIS WEAVING
    Being the only set listed in the official Gobelins records as having been woven with these borders by Audran, this tapestry almost certainly forms part of the eighth weaving of the Mois de Lucas and was woven in the first Royal high warp loom workshop. It was part of a set woven between 1733 and 1743 while this panel was on the looms from 1735 until October 1738. The border decoration is a variant of that created by Belin de Fontenay and Pierre Josse Perrot in 1730 and was first used in 1737 for a series woven for the Stanislas, King of Poland.

    Two tapestries from the series, April and October, were lent to Madame de Pompadour for four years but then in 1758 Louis XV requested the entire set from the Marquis de Marigny for the Garde Meuble. It was inventoried in the Royal collection as No. 243 and was recorded as:

    Une tenture de tapisserie de haute lisse, laine et soie, dessein de Lucas, corrigè par Boullenger, manufacture des Gobelins, représentant des chasses, moissons, vendages et autres sujets distrubués selon les mois de l'année; la bordure en mosaïques, à festoons de fleurs et fruits; par le haut les armes du Roy, et par le bas le signe du mois; la tenure en douze pièces, contenant 35 aunes de cours sur 3 a. de haut.

    In 1789 the complete set was still recorded in the Royal collection, two in the Garde Mueble and ten with Le Moine de Crécy, a commissaire général de la Maison du Roi, this panel with Crécy then recorded as 2 a. 11/12 wide. The following records in 1792 list but the two tapestries from the Garde Meuble as remaining in the collection. By 1900 three panels are in the French State Collections and the only other recorded panel by Audran with these borders is July which is listed in the Spanish Royal Collection. That tapestry is said to have been at château d'Épinay which belonged to Don François d'Assise.

    RELATED TAPESTRIES
    Related tapestries from this series are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in the Hermitage Museum, Russia (illustrated in N. Birioukova, Les Tapisseries Franaises de la Fin du XVe au XXe Sicle dans les Collections de l'Ermitage, Leningrad, 1974, Leningrad, cat.27) and were sold by the 6th Earl of Rosebery from Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, Sotheby's House sale, 18-20 May 1977, lots 802-813. Two tapestries from the 11th weaving between 1767 and 1772 were sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 20 April 2007, lots 119 and 120.

    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

    Almost certainly commissioned by Louis XV in 1735 and completed by 1748. Transferred to the Garde Meuble du Roi in 1758 as No. 243 where it remained until 1789.
    Possibly Don François d'Assise at château d'Epinay.
    Possibly Spanish Royal Collection in 1900.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A LADY OF TITLE


    Literature

    M. Fenaille, Etat général des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1903, vol. III, pp. 354 - 358.
    H. Göbel, Die Wandteppiche und ihre Manufakturen, Frankreich, Italien, Spanien und Portugal, Leipzig, 1928, vol. I, fig. 117, vol. II, p. 144.
    E. Standen, European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, vol. I, p. 345.