Nello Forti Grazzini in his Arazzi del Cinquecento a Como, p. 54, reveals correspondences mentioning Jan Raes executing the editio princes for cardinal Borghese (d. 1633) in 1610. Forti Grazzini suggests that, although there are other weavings known to this design including a set at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (G.L. Hunter, Loan Exhibition of Tapestries, Philadelphia, 1915, cats. 11 - 13), one at the cathedral of Cremona of 1629 (A. Puerari, Il Duomo di Cremona, Milan, 1971, p. 176) and one in the Muzeu de Arta, Bucarest (V. Dene, Tapisseries flamandes. Musée d'Art de la République Socialiste de Roumanie, Bucarest, 1966, pp. 41 - 45), the borders of this tapestry and its two companion pieces also sold in the 1927 sale together with this lot, are unique and fit descriptions of the Borghese tapestries of 1610. Interestingly the cartoons appear to have originally been executed for Henri II, King of France, fifty years earlier by an otherwise unknown designer Gillio Mechelaon, who succeeded in blending Italian, French and Flemish painting traditions. It is believed that Henri II had planned to have the tapestries woven in Brussels for himself, but the religious wars and Henri II's death in 1559 halted the project. The cartoons were then apparently lent to cardinal Borghese for the first weaving.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese was conferred the cardinalship in 1605 by his uncle pope Camillo Borghese upon his nomination to the papacy. Cardinal Borghese embarked on numerous commissions of churches in Rome and was an avid art collector. He built the Villa Borghese circa 1610 to house his vast collections.
Jan Raes (d. 1643) was one of the eight most important tapestry weavers of Brussels in the early 17th Century. He formed part of a dynasty of three identically named weavers and was granted the weaving privileges in 1613 and 1629 and was burgomaster of Brussels in 1634 - 1635. A further set depicting The Life of Samson is in Cremona.