The Cresson stamp on this pair of fauteuils may refer to a number of different menusiers, most of which are from the same family and worked during the Louis XV period. Charles and Jean were brothers who both worked in the first half of the 18th century, while their sons Jean-Baptiste, Charles' son, René, Louis I and Michel, sons of Jean, received their maîtrises between 1738 and 1741. The oeuvre of the various members of the family is closely related to each other and a specific attribution to one of them is not possible.
Chinoiserie tapestry of this type, with a whimsical use of Chinese figures and plants, is probably best know from the English versions attributed to John Vanderbanc (d. 1717) and his Soho workshop in Great Queen Street, London. Those examples, woven between 1689 and 1717 when Vanderbanc headed the workshop, usually had a dark brown ground. The figural placements and the subjects are, however, different in character to the English prototypes. A very rare set of brown ground Chinoiserie tapestries woven with silver-thread of identical weave and figural composition, signed by Jodocus de Vos of Brussels was recently sold at Christie's London (11 May 2000, lots 204 - 210).
De Vos (1664 - 1734) had one of the biggest tapestry ateliers in Brussels and supplied King William III. He was, however, also active as a dealer, selling other master's works and distributing commissions, possibly sometimes signed with his name (D. Heinz, Europäische Wandteppiche des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 1995, pp. 212 - 214).
Very little is known about Jodocus de Vos' Chinoiserie tapestries. Two related sets on a deep blue ground are known from a screen from the collection of Mrs. Antenor Patiño that was sold at Sotheby's New York, 1 November 1997, lot 166, and another set that is recorded in a private German collection. The brown ground on the Christie's London set does by contrast appear to be unique and it is thus probable that these chairs originally formed part of the same suite as the London tapestry set, particularly since that set included two chair seat covers.
THE DUC AND PRINCE D'ARENBERG
It is believed that the suite of brown-ground Chinoiserie tapestries by de Vos that were sold at Christie's London were oringially purchased by Léopold-Philippe-Charles, Duc and Prince d'Arenberg, Duc d'Arschot et de Croy, Prince de Procean, Grand d'Espagne, Chevalier de la Toison d'Or and major-general of the armies of the Emperor. He was born in 1690 and married Marie-Françoise Pignatelli, daughter of Angélique d'Egmont and of Nicolas, duc de Bisaccia, in 1711.