This tapestry is from a series woven in Brussels during the late 17th century depicting scenes from the story of 'Diana and Acteon.' A related Brussels tapestry based on the same cartoon and attributed to the workshop of Jean Franois van den Hecke is illustrated in Professor E. Kumsch, Wandteppiche im hause Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Dresden, 1913 (together with a weaving of 'Acteon attacked by his hounds'). The Krupp von Bohlen tapestry of 'Diana and Acteon' features a more elaborate floral border, and lacks the two small putti on the left side and the fountain on the right as depicted in this example.
The central male figure of Acteon is taken directly from a composition by Francesco Albani depicting a scene from the story of 'Adonis and Venus.' Three sets of four paintings depicting the 'Loves of Venus and Adonis' are known, including the sets in the Louvre, Paris and in the Borghese Gallery, Rome. In addition, the four compositions were engraved at least twice by Etienne Baudet and Benit Audran (H. Marillier, 'The Venus and Adonis Tapestries after Albani,' The Burlington Magazine, LIV, no. 315, June 1929, pp. 314-320). While the figure of Acteon/Adonis and the two small putti to the far left side are true to Albani's composition, the cartoon designer of the tapestry depicted the reclining female figure as Diana, complete with her diadem and arrows, rather than as a sleeping nude Venus.
The present lot also relates to a Brussels or Antwerp tapestry in the De Wit collection, Malines which depicts 'Euridyce bitten by a snake' (G. Delmarcel, Tapisseries Flamandes Cinq Sicles de Tradition, Luxembourg, 1995, no. 19). Both tapestries have a similar composition and feature an identical fountain with an elegant woman leaning against the edge.
This tapestry is the only remaining piece from the original French and Co. inventory.