The motto to the centre of the lower border is that of the Prvt de l'Htel or Grand Prvt de France. This important post and ministry was responsible for order, security and provisioning of the Royal household and was the court for all offenses committed in the Royal residences and surrounding areas. Since 1578 that post with nearly 100 officers, guards and officials moved with the King from residence to residence. Henri III placed Franois du Plessis, seigneur de Richelieu, father of the cardinal, as head of the organisation in 1578, while it was the with nomination of Louis Franois du Bouchet, marquis de Sourches, in 1664 that one family headed the Prvt until 1791.
This tapestry is unrecorded in Fenaille. The borders and the dense weave are, however, very closely related to tapestries woven in the Paris workshop in the faubourg Saint-Marcel in the first half 17th Century, such as The History of Diana and Les Amours de Gombeaut et de Mace (M. Fenaille, Etat Gnral des Tapisseries de La Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris, 1923, vol. I, pp. 217 - 224 and 231 - 240). The workshop was established out of an association between Marc and Jrme de Comans as well as Franois de la Planche in 1601, while they received a Royal decree for the founding of their tapestry manufacture in 1607.
It is interesting to note the similarities of these borders with those woven at the same period in Bruges such as in the La Vie de Marie series and the tapestry depicting La Nymphe Lonide drobe les lettres d'Astre Cladon endormi (G. Delmarcel and E. Duverger, Bruges et la Tapisserie, Bruges-Mouscron, 1987, pp. 354 - 356 (cats. 41 and 42) and p. 399 (cat. 52). These borders are, however, in general not as rich in concept and the lion's masks actively suspend the floral garlands, but the exchange of ideas between the workshops is very apparent.
Fredrick I (1123 - 1190), known as Fredrick Barbarossa (Red Beard), became Duke of Swabia in 1147 and German King and Holy Roman Emperor in 1152. He challanged the papal authority and attempted to establish German dominance of western Europe. In May 1189, Pope Gregory VIII and Barbarossa called for the Third Crusade to free Jerusalem, which had been captured in 1187, from Saladin's army. He led the largest crusader army yet and entered Byzantine territory through Hungary. He avoided Constantinople and crossed the Dardanelles. He reached Iconium after defeating the Seljuq army, the scene is possibly depicted in this tapestry. The Seljuq had ruled an area including Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and most of Iran from the 11th Century but after the last Iranian Seljuqs died in 1194, the empire collapsed and all that remained was Anatolia. Barbarossa continued but drowned when attempting to swim across the Saleph river on 10 June 1190.
A Paris tapestry by Franois de la Planche and bearing the Paris factory mark, incorporating similar lion's heads and floral garlands, depicting The Feast from The Story of Artemisia was sold anonymously Sotheby's London, 25 March 1966, lot 16.