Lot Content

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A BRUSSELS MYTHOLOGICAL TAPESTRY
A BRUSSELS MYTHOLOGICAL TAPESTRY

BY JEAN BAPTISTE VERMILLION, FIRST HALF 18TH CENTURY, AFTER DESIGNS BY JAN VAN ORLEY

Details
A BRUSSELS MYTHOLOGICAL TAPESTRY
By Jean Baptiste Vermillion, first half 18th Century, after designs by Jan van Orley
En suite with the preceding lot, woven in wools and silks, from The History of Psyche series, depicting Psyche being taken away over a valley by Zephyr, the West wind, to Cupid's palace, her attendant maidens being left behind on the right side by a plinth and a large tree, within a scrolling foliate and cartouche border and a brown outer slip, with the Brussels town mark, with weaver's mark 'J.B.VERMILLION.' and inscribed 'NO. 10 P. PSICHE', restorations and reweaving, the top central section of the main field woven in a separate slip but woven integrately to the sides, the sides previously turned over
10 ft. 8 in. x 12 ft. 2 in. (325 cm. x 371 cm.)

Lot Essay

Psyche was so beautiful that she even aroused the envy of Venus. Venus ordered Cupid to make Psyche fall in love with something worthless but Cupid himself fell in love with her. He brought her to his palace but only visited her after dark, forbidding her to see him. Curious, one night, Psyche lit a lamp to take a look at Cupid but let a drop of oil fall on him and he awakened. His palace vanished and he disappeared. Psyche wandered the earth in search of him, performing near impossible tasks set by Venus. Ceres and Juno intervened in vain with Venus and finally Jupiter took pity on Psyche and carried her up to heaven where she married Cupid.

A collaboration between Jean Baptiste Vermillion, who took over the workshop of Jerme Le Clerc in 1720 and continued to lead it until 1731, and Jan Frans van der Borght (d. 1774) (see the en suite lot 232), is not recorded. For large commissions, however, such independent collaborations were frequent.

A set of six tapestry panels bearing the signature 'F.D.V. Borght' from The History of Psyche are recorded with the duke of Montrose, Buchanan Castle (W.G. Thomson, A History of Tapestry, Menston, Yorkshire, 1973, pp. 479 and 480). Two tapestries with identical borders, signed 'F.V.D. Borght' and further inscribed 1, 2, 3 and 4 Psiche, probably from the same set and from the property of La Comtesse d'Aubigny and from the collection of the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, were sold in these Rooms, 1 July 1976, lot 112.
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