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Circa 1700
Centering three arches enclosing figures of Jupiter in the form of an eagle abducting Ganymede, Pluto abducting Persephone, and Mercury, divided by winged term figures playing the pipes, the upper section with a central female term figure upholding a fruit basket and flanked by sirens and exotic birds against a background of floral sprays and foliate scrolls, within a strapwork border
Approximately 10ft. 8in. x 6ft. 11in. (325cm. x 211cm.)
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's New York, 9 January 1990, lot 364
Anonymous sale in these Rooms, 21 October 1997, lot 11

Lot Essay

This remarkable embroidery exemplifies the theatrical exuberance of late 17th century French design and relates closely to the work of Jean Brain (1637-1711) who in 1674 was made architecte dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi. Many elements of the design recur in Brain's engravings (many of which were published in 1711 in Oeuvre de Jean Brain, recuillies par les soins du sieur Thuret), in particular the strapwork dividers, the use of mythical figures and winged herms and the architectural canopied framework. The three-level divisions and placement of figures in the present embroidery may refer to the front, center and back stages of the theatre which would have been natural for Brain who also provided designs for festivities and theatricals for the court. A very similar hanging, presumably from the same workshop, was offered Sotheby's London, 13 December 1991, lot 36.


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