The subjects depicted on the tapestry covers of this suite's seats are based on the fables of Jean La Fontaine (1621-1695), which were in turn based on Aesop's and Oriental fables. First published in 1668, La Fontaine's fables enjoyed enduring popularity and a second extended version was published in 1678-79, with a third addition in 1792-94.
The Royal Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory first wove La Fontaine's fables in 1736 after a design by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755), who had been employed by the manufactory since 1726 and took over its directorship
in 1734. Although he was contractually bound to deliver six cartoons for tapestries every three years, Oudry's style dominated Beauvais so strongly during this period that the workshop ceased all reweavings of older subjects, and Voltaire even dubbed the workshop 'the kingdom of Oudry'. The fables proved such a successful tapestry design that by 1777 the main series had been copied no less than sixteen times.