This tapestry was almost certainly commissioned by François Laurent Greder (d. 1716) of Solothurn, Switzerland, after the death of his father Wolffgang in 1691 and before he became a knight of the order of Saint Louis in 1694. Since he would have been allowed to include this honour in his arms, it is virtually certain that the tapestry was woven prior to that nomination. He served in the French army and became a brigadier in 1691, which is probably reflected in the military arms below the coat-of-arms. The arms were only used by the Greder while they lived in the estate of Blumenstein, so when François Laurent bequeathed the property to his sister and named the house Laurentin, it prevented any later Greders from using the same arms.
This tapestry forms part of a group of probably eight nearly identical panels all bearing the arms of the Greder family. The design appears to be unique to this set and it appears that there were slight differences within the set in regard to the background. It is believed that two panels had a plain background, two further panels a country background and four a formal garden as background. Two with country backgrounds are in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (E. Standen, European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, vol. II, cat. 63, pp. 437 - 440), while one with plain background is in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. Formal gardens appear in the following
sales: Four from Prince Paul Galitzine, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 10 - 11 March 1875, lot 180, bought by Gauchez, and three again from Madame X (marked on the Frick Library copy of the catalogue 'Maîtresse de Gauchez'), Hôtel Drouot, 20 - 23 April 1892, lots 410 - 412. A single panel with formal garden appeared in the Lefortier sale, American Art Association, New York, 27 - 29 November 1924, lot 513. A tapestry with a similar formal garden and part of the Galitzine group, was in the collection of Ithamy Hussein Pacha, sold Ader Tajan, Paris, 14 March 1993, lot 164, while another is in the Musée de Soleure, Switzerland (P. Kopp, Historisches Museum Blumenstein, no. 1949-18).
Design and Manufacture:
Many aspects of this tapestry recall designs by Jean Berain I (d. 1711), such as that of a design for a similar border in his Ornemens Inventez that is in the Rogers Fund of the Museum of Modern Art (Standen, op cit., p. 438). Berain, who trained under Charles Le Brun, was appointed royal designer to the King in 1674.
Interestingly all of the Greder tapestries were woven in two halves and joined after the weaving, which would indicate that the workshop that manufactured these tapestries was probably less extensive and possibly less well organised than those of Gobelins and Beauvais. Indeed, these tapestries relate closely to 22 manufactured at Lunéville for the duc de Lorraine which bear the arms of Lorraine and Orléans, by Josse Bacor between 1718 and 1722, which are today at the Kusthistorisches Museum, Vienna (M. Antoine, Les Manufactures de Tapisserie des Ducs de Lorraine au XVIIIe Siècle (1698 - 1737), Nancy, 1965, plates XVII and XXIII). However, that workshop was only established in 1718. There is, on the other hand, Gilles Bacor (d. 1714) who used Berain designs and is known to have woven armorial tapestries in Paris. He was one of four brothers who worked for Gobelins at the end of the 17th Century and maintained his own workshop with ten looms in the grand rue Mouffetard. He was very active and wove Chancelleries, a series of Diana and two or three sets of Grands dieux after Bérain, with whom he worked closely. He is recorded as working with one nephew Philippe and almost certainly also with Josse Bacor who was also a nephew before the latter moved to Nancy. Lacking any inscription, a firm attribution to a workshop is not possible.
(Standen, op. cit., vol II, cat 63, pp. 437- 440 and Antoine, op. cit., pp. 51 -52).