HISTORY OF THE SERIES
This tapestry forms part of a series of eight tapestries depicting The Story of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra and depicts the life of tbe queen of Palmyra, who after her husband's death defended the city against the Romans and the Emperor Aurelius. The story is based on Jean Tristan de Saint Amant's Commentaires historiques. The designs can be attributed to Justus van Egmont (d. 1674), who was an Antwerp painter, had trained with Peter Paul Rubens between 1622 and 1625 before moving to Paris and working with Simon Vouet. Returning to Antwerp via Brussels in 1653, he established himself as a successful designer of tapestries for both cities. Several tapestry sets, including the highly successful SStory of Caesar Augustus can be attributed to him.
This series was generally woven by the foremost workshops in Brussels at the time, including those of Gerard Peemans, his father-in-law Gerard van der Strecken and Jan van Leefdael. The earliest documented weaving is in 1655 when a set is mentioned on the looms of Peemans and the last in 1676 when Peemans had a contract to weave a set for a Spanish dealer in Antwerp.
A set of eight panels from this series, but with variant borders, is in the Spanish Royal Collection
(P. Junquera de Vega and C. Diaz Gallegos, Catalogo de Tapices del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1986, vol. II, cat. 62, pp. 164-172, this subject being p. 170).
(G. Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestry, Tielt, 1999, pp. 230, 241 and 247 - 248)