This series is based on Torquato Tasso's (1544-1595) Jerusalem Delivered of 1581. The epic poem relays the various crusades undertaken by the Christians against the Muslims to regain the grave of Christ. Tancred, a Christian knight, loved the amazonian Clorinda, who fought for the opposing Saracenes. In battle, not knowing who she was, he wounds her fatally but recognises her at that moment. Clorinda before dying, craving a Christian baptism after hearing that morning she was the daughter of the king of Ethopia and born a Christian, has Tancred fetch her water in his helmet.
This particular scene depicts Tancred, on his way to Jerusalem and after having battled the Persians, resting by a luscious source and suddenly seeing Clorinda in her shining armour. He immediately falls in love with her, but his comrades, seeing her as a heroine from the adversary camp, chase her away.
The designs for this series are attributed to Michelle I Corneille (1603-1664), also designer of the series Apollo and Daphne (see lot 250 of this sale) and are believed to have been drawn between 1645 and 1650. His authorship is confirmed by the reference to two designs from the series in the inventory taken after his death. A friend of Eustache Le Sueur and raised by Simon Vouet, he was a co-founder of the Académie royale de peinture in 1648. His name appears before 1673 in the inventory of the Crown as having submitted designs for the tapestry series of the Jeux d'enfants and Ancien et Nouveau Testament.
The series can consist of eight panels (Tancred meets Clorinda, Clorinda frees Olinda and Sophronia, Tancred gives Herminia her liberty, Herminia returns to her Countrymen, Tancred baptising Clorinda, Herminia succours Tancred and Tancred orders the Tombstone for Clorinda), although Fenaille only lists seven (M. Fenaille, Etat Général des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1923, vol. 1600-1900, pp. 359-362). Upon the death of Raphaël de la Planche in 1661, at least 20 pieces from this series and the eight cartoons are mentioned in the inventory taken of his workshop, the Atelier du Faubourg Saint-Germain which was founded in 1633. The series must therefore also have been woven in the years prior to that with the help of his son Sébastien-François, and it appears that there were deliveries of this set as late as 1692, long after the Royal Gobelins Tapestry Manufacture was founded by Colbert in 1662.
This tapestry probably formed part of a set of six tapestries of the series, sold by Colonel W. J. Thompson [+], Sotheby's London, 13 May 1960, lots 97-102, this panel being lot 99. The origin of the set was not further discussed in the catalogue. There are today at least six differing borders recorded for the series, but it has not yet been possible to trace the commission of the six tapestries sold in 1960 as the borders are not described sufficiently distinctively in the older records. A further tapestry illustrating the Baptism of Clorinda was sold anonymously in these Rooms, 6 March 1980, lot 137, and a panel illustrating Herminia succouring Tancred anonymously at Christie's New York, 19 May 1988, lot 246.