This tapestry and the following lot, celebrate love's triumph with scenes from the History of Venus recounted in Ovid's Metamorphoses or The Loves of the Gods. The nature goddess reposes on her couch, that is set between trellised pilasters twined by jasmine and honeysuckle, and hung from a flower-garlanded, vase-decked and triumphal-arched arbour, that is twined with her sacred roses. She is attended by her son Cupid, who appears to be summoning Adonis by holding back the richly foliated curtains.
These tapestries are based on paintings by Francesco Albani (d. 1660), today in the Louvre, Paris. Albani studied with Guido Reni under Denis Calvaert and later with the Carracci brothers. His paintings were adapted as tapestries by Jan van Orley (d. 1735) for the Brussels workshops of Judocus de Vos and Jan Frans van der Hecke and a complete set by these weavers remain in the Green Velvet Bedchamber, Houghton Hall, Norfolk (Houghton Guide, Norwich, 1989), and a further set of four tapestries by Vos were sold anonymously, Sotheby's London, 25 May 1960, lots 93-96. The set was also copied by the Soho and Fulham ateliers in the early 18th Century and a pair, including the sleeping Venus, from the property of the Phoenix Art Museum, was sold at Christie's New York, 10 January 1995, lots 128 and 129. These English panels are in reverse to the Brussels versions. The two lots to be offered (lots 128 and 129), only depict the main scene of the subject in the same directional sense as the Brussels tapestries, within a greatly altered landscape and with changed colours. The copying and simplifying of existing subjects and the general colour scheme is reminiscent of the Berlin and Dresden tapestries of the early 18th Century.
A tapestry of related character entitled Komödianten and depicting a fête galante within similarly foliate-entwined framing, woven in the Berlin Tapestry Manufactory of Charles Vigne in circa 1740, is illustrated in D. Heinz, Europäische Tapisseriekunst des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 1995, pl. 28.